Religion, women’s role, and the educational gender gap in sub-Saharan Africa
Previous research has shown the persistence of a gender gap in education in sub-Saharan Africa that hampers this region from higher levels of economic and social development. Another body of literature in social sciences stresses the influence of religion on values and, thus, on gender roles in preindustrial societies. In this thesis, we bring those two elements together to study the influence of religious backgrounds on gender differences in educational enrollment. Additionally, we test the extent to which households’ and aggregate economic factors alter this relationship. We use a multilevel logistic model on micro-level data from Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) that adds up to 779,958 children between 8 and 14 years old in 29 sub-Saharan African countries. This study provides evidence of a relationship between religion and the gender gap in education. Furthermore, we find a moderating influence of households’ economic circumstances on the differences across religions. Paradoxically, aggregate factors point at the opposite direction, increasing those disparities. Those findings suggest that, whereas religious backgrounds may influence the gender gap in education, this relationship might considerably vary depending on micro-level economic factors.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen