Appropriate literacy levels are crucial for both men and women seeking education and employment opportunities, but low literacy skills disproportionally hurt women’s chances of earning a sustaining wage.
by Jennifer Herard, Kevin Miller, Ph.D., Jane M. Henrici, Ph.D., Barbara Gault, Ph.D. (February 2012)
The Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) contains the well-known and long-running CIRP Freshman Survey and follow up assessments such as the Your First College Year (YFCY) and the College Senior Survey. The UCLA Higher Education Research Institute also administer the HERI Faculty Survey, which examines issues from the faculty standpoint. A variety of data related services based on the results of these surveys are available. Please click on links below to get more information.
Welcome to the front lines of the fight to stop child marriage in a country where nearly half of all girls wed before age 18. The weapon of choice: cash.
Lado is part of an innovative program called Apni Beti Apni Dhan, or Our Daughters, Our Wealth. Launched in 1994 by the northern state of Haryana, the program gives poor families 500 rupees ($11, the equivalent of less than half a week’s pay) when a daughter is born, and also deposits money into a savings account. If the girl turns 18 unwed, she is eligible to redeem the bond, worth 25,000 rupees (roughly $500, or one third of an average yearly income). The earliest of the program’s approximately 150,000 enrollees turn 18 next year, offering a rare chance to study whether the program offers a solution other states—and countries—can use.
Whether it can be tied directly to Apni Beti or not, child marriage is on the decline in Haryana, which saw an 18 percent drop in the practice between 1992 and 2006. Haryana community workers say that thus far none of the program’s beneficiaries have been married off by their parents, who know of the program’s promised payout. The girls must sign for the bond, but it is likely their parents will have control of it because of social norms, and most of the girls say they want their parents to use it for their education anyway.
New research by Joel E. Cohen and colleagues in Norway found that, at least among a population of Norwegian women, childbearing impeded education more than education impeded childbearing. The surprising findings are reported online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
From the press release:
In almost every country, women with more education have fewer children. But does education reduce childbearing, or does childbearing get in the way of education, or both? New research by Joel E. Cohen and colleagues in Norway found that, at least among a population of Norwegian women, childbearing impeded education more than education impeded childbearing. The surprising findings are reported online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Cohen and his co-authors, Øystein Kravdal and Nico Keilman from the University of Oslo, followed all the women born in Norway in 1964 through the end of their childbearing, using year-by-year data on education, enrollment and reproduction.
The researchers expected to find that women around 40 years old with more education bear fewer children mainly because education reduces childbearing. However, they found the opposite: women who have children early seem not to go on to higher education, much more than higher education reduces childbearing.
Cohen and his colleagues offer several possible policy implications based on their findings. For example, should women be discouraged from bearing children at an early age? The authors suggest that policy makers could recognize that early childbearing may be a result of decisions made by well-informed individuals. On the other hand, if society places a large value on education that is inadequately taken into account through individuals' decision making, policies could be adopted that discourage people from having children at an early age.
In addition, if women underestimate how much childbearing interferes with further education — along with potentially adverse consequences for their long-term quality of life — then a case could be made that it would be a good idea to create more awareness about the educational consequences of early childbearing.
Finally, a policy could be implemented that offset the effect of childbearing on education by, for example, lowering the cost of child care for students who are mothers. Such a policy, the authors say, could in principle make more women interested in having a child early; however, it would increase the educational levels for those who would have a child (whether wanted or not) while they are still young, with potentially beneficial effects also on others' well-being.
In most societies, women at age 39 with higher levels of education have fewer children. To understand this association, we investigated the effects of childbearing on educational attainment and the effects of education on fertility in the 1964 birth cohort of Norwegian women. Using detailed annual data from ages 17 to 39, we estimated the probabilities of an additional birth, a change in educational level, and enrollment in the coming year, conditional on fertility history, educational level, and enrollment history at the beginning of each year. A simple model reproduced a declining gradient of children ever born with increasing educational level at age 39. When a counterfactual simulation assumed no effects of childbearing on educational progression or enrollment (without changing the estimated effects of education on childbearing), the simulated number of children ever born decreased very little with increasing completed educational level, contrary to data. However, when another counterfactual simulation assumed no effects of current educational level and enrollment on childbearing (without changing the estimated effects of childbearing on education), the simulated number of children ever born decreased with increasing completed educational level nearly as much as the decrease in the data. In summary, in these Norwegian data, childbearing impeded education much more than education impeded childbearing. These results suggest that women with advanced degrees have lower completed fertility on the average principally because women who have one or more children early are more likely to leave or not enter long educational tracks and never attain a high educational level.
EurekAlert / Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
The AAUW National Convention brings together more than a thousand women and men who are committed to education and equity for all women and girls. The convention is open to all professionals, groups, institutions, and organizations that advocate women’s leadership, social justice, and public policy and advance community programs, activism, coalition building, education, research, and assessment. Attendees represent different backgrounds, cultures and perspectives, but all are committed to a common theme of education and equity. Held biennially in odd-numbered years, the convention offers plenary sessions, workshops, issue forums, and information about issues of community concern and provides personal and professional development opportunities. Participants expand their personal and institutional capacity to enhance the lives of women and girls.
Analysis of the Census Bureau's 2000 and 2010 Current Population Survey Fertility Supplements finds that women with a college degree are giving birth at a later age than other women and having fewer children overall by the end of their childbearing years.
In 2010, the women's education level made less of a difference in their total number of children than it did in 2000. Women 35 to 44 (corresponding with the 25 to 34 age group in 2000) with at least a bachelor's degree had 1.7 births, while women who had less than a high school education had 2.5 births. Eighty-eight percent of women 35 to 44 with less than a high school education had a birth compared with 76 percent of women with at least a bachelor's degree
Other highlights from the press release:
Foreign-born women were more likely to have ever had a baby than were native-born women by the age of 40 to 44, at 87 percent compared with 80 percent.
More than half (55 percent) of women who had a child in the last year were in the labor force. Of those women, about one third (34 percent) were working full time, 14 percent were working part time, and 7 percent were unemployed.
Almost one-quarter (23 percent) of women with a birth in the last year reported living in households with family incomes of at least $75,000. At the other end of the income scale, about one in five (21 percent) were living in families with incomes under $20,000.
By age 40 to 44, white non-Hispanic women (20.6 percent) were more likely to be childless than Hispanic women (12.4 percent), black women (17.2 percent) and Asian women (15.9 percent). Black women were also more likely to be childless than Hispanic women. Asian women did not differ from black or Hispanic women.
Differences in childlessness by race and origin are more substantial for women who have never married. Among these women age 40 to 44, white non-Hispanic women were more likely to be childless (69.5 percent) than black women (27.8 percent) and Hispanic women (36.4 percent). No significant difference in childlessness among those who had never married was found between black and Hispanic women, or white non-Hispanic women and Asian women (65.8 percent).
Using federal statistics, this report provides a picture of women in America in five areas: demographic and family changes, education, employment, health, and crime and violence.
From the Foreword:
Each page of this report is full of the most up-to-date facts on the status of women. Of particular note are the following:
As the report shows, women have made enormous progress on some fronts. Women have not only caught up with men in college attendance but younger women are now more likely than younger men to have a college or a master’s degree. Women are also working more and the number of women and men in the labor force has nearly equalized in recent years. As women’s work has increased, their earnings constitute a growing share of family income.
Yet, these gains in education and labor force involvement have not yet translated into wage and income equity. At all levels of education, women earned about 75 percent of what their male counterparts earned in 2009. In part because of these lower earnings and in part because unmarried and divorced women are the most likely to have responsibility for raising and supporting their children, women are more likely to be in poverty than men. These economic inequities are even more acute for women of color.
Women live longer than men but are more likely to face certain health problems, such as mobility impairments, arthritis, asthma, depression, and obesity. Women also engage in lower levels of physical activity. Women are less likely than men to suffer from heart disease or diabetes. Many women do not receive specific recommended preventative care, and one out of seven women age 18-64 has no usual source of health care. The share of women in that age range without health insurance has also increased.
Women are less likely than in the past to be the target of violent crimes, including homicide. But women are victims of certain crimes, such as intimate partner violence and stalking, at higher rates than men.
U. S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration and Executive Office of the President Office of Management and Budget
CNN: From 1996-2001, girls were not allowed to attend school in Afghanistan. Although many girls schools have reopened, female educational institutions have come under attack, with buildings being burned and schoolgirls being poisoned.
"Armed men burned down a girls' primary school in eastern Afghanistan Monday night, an act that also destroyed hundreds of Qurans, a government official said Tuesday. Ministry of Education spokesman Asif Nang tells CNN that the Sangar girls' primary school, located in the Alengar district of Laghman province, was destroyed.
Taliban militants have attacked girls' schools in the past, but Seddiqui said that the fire was apparently set by "addicts and thieves" in a failed robbery attempt. The provincial governor's spokesman, Gul Rahman Hamdard, confirmed the burning of the school and the Qurans. He told CNN an investigation is ongoing. Women were oppressed during the Taliban's rule, from 1996-2001, and many Afghan girls were not allowed to attend school during that time.
Girls' schools began reopening after the Islamist regime was toppled. The United Nations children's agency, UNICEF, estimates this year that 2 million Afghan girls are attending school."
Feminist Majority Foundation: The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has published their 2010 report about the current education situation for girls in Iraq. The report looks at the education system in Iraq and makes recommendations to both the government and UNICEF Iraq to improve girls' access to high quality education.
"Yesterday, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) published their 2010 report about the current education situation for girls in Iraq. The report PDF analyzes the education system in Iraq and makes recommendations to both the Iraqi government and UNICEF Iraq to improve girls' access to high quality instruction.
The overall number of children receiving primary education in Iraq has been declining since the 2004-05 school year, although girls' enrollment in schools is much lower than that of boys and their drop out rate is higher. According to the study, "for every 100 boys enrolled in primary schools in Iraq, there are just under 89 girls."
The report attributes girls' under representation in schools to the lack of family approval of girls' education, difficulties traveling to and from school, early marriages, and unsafe conditions and abuse at the school. To address these issues, UNICEF recommends improving school curriculum, providing safe transportation to the girls, implementing innovative educational strategies, and improving teacher training"