Girls Versus Boys: Parents' Attitudes toward Children’s Educational Attainment in India

Sabrina M Fernandes, University of California, Los Angeles

Educational attainment is a key component of children’s success as adults and is strongly influenced by parents’ characteristics, including their education, economic resources, and expectations. While much demographic research has focused on fertility preferences including desired number of sons and daughters, less work has addressed postnatal “quality” preferences. This study uses data from the Survey of the Status of Women and Fertility and multinomial logistic regression to examine wives’ and husbands’ personal attitudes toward boys’ and girls’ educational attainment and the joint distribution of these attitudes within couples in three distinct settings of South Asia: Uttar Pradesh in north India, Tamil Nadu in south India, and Punjab, Pakistan. It seeks to answer these questions: 1) Which characteristics of wives and husbands significantly influence their attitudes toward boys’ and girls’ education and how?; and 2) What are the factors – including power dynamics-- affecting couples’ concordance or discordance regarding these attitudes?

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Presented in Poster Session 4: Inequality, Labor Force, Education, Gender, Race/Ethnicity, Religion, Policy