Water and girls’ education

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon has a nice post called Water Hauling and Girls’ Education.  In it, she discusses interesting new research showing a negative and significant relationship between girls’ education and the length of time it takes them to haul water back to their homes (most often considered women’s work in the developing world).

For instance, a new World Bank working paper Water Hauling and Girls’ School Attendance Some New Evidence From Ghana by Céline Nauges and Jon Strand shows that “a halving of water fetching time increases girls’ school attendance by 2.4 percentage points on average, with stronger impacts in rural communities” and that “the results seem to be the first definitive documentation of such a relationship in Africa.”

Similarly, Gayatri Koolwal and Dominique van de Walle, in a paper forthcoming in Economic Development and Cultural Change called Access to Water, Women’s Work and Child Outcomes find that, “a one hour reduction in the time spent to walk to the water source increases girls’ school enrollment rates by about 10 percentage points in Yemen, and by about 12 percentage points in Pakistan.”

While this has long been suspected based on anecdotal evidence, it is good to see researchers documenting the phenomena empirically.

h/t Tom Murphy

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