Education of Muslim women is limited by economic conditions, not religion


Education of Muslim women is limited by economic conditions, not religion

Muslim societies have sometimes faced criticism for failing to adequately educate women. Boko Haram’s kidnapping of schoolgirls in Nigeria and the Taliban’s attack on Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai have contributed to this perception, raising the question of whether Islam itself hampers women’s education. But a new analysis of Pew Research Center data on educational attainment and religion suggests that economics, not religion, is the key factor limiting the education of Muslim women.

It’s true that, historically, Muslim women have received less schooling than females of other major religions (except Hindus); they also have lagged behind Muslim men in educational attainment, according to previous analysis by Pew Research Center. More recently, however, Muslim women have been catching up – not only with Muslim men but also with other women around the world.

As Muslim women move up the educational ladder, the role of religion as a predictor of academic attainment is diminishing, according to the new study, which analyzes the Center’s education data and appears in the journal Population and Development Review.

The findings challenge claims that there’s a culture clash between Muslim and Western societies over gender equality in education. (The study was authored by David McClendon, Conrad Hackett, Michaela Potančoková, Marcin Stonawski and Vegard Skirbekk. Hackett is a senior demographer and associate director of research at Pew Research Center. McClendon is a former research associate at the Center.) The analysis shows that a country’s wealth – not its laws or culture – is the most important factor in determining a woman’s educational fate, with women in oil-rich Gulf countries, especially, making some of the biggest educational leaps in recent decades…

Source: Pew Research Center

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