Acta Universitatis Danubius. Œconomica, Vol 15, No 6 (2019)

Households characteristics that determine perceptions on girl education in Malawi

Hannah Mayamiko Dunga, Steven Henry Dunga


The link between illiteracy and poverty, and its counterpart link between education and earnings, has well-established foundations in both theories of human capital and poverty. There is also a consensus in terms of the disparity in educational achievement that exists between males and females, emanating from education biases between boys and girls. Boys are considered to be more important in many sections of societies in Africa. In order to deal with the unequal distribution in incomes between males and females, females have to be on par with males in terms of the prerequisite requirements of the consequential occupations that are linked with education levels. Equality can therefore only be achieved if the derived demand of education is not skewed towards boys but remain equally available to both sexes. The fact that the preferences between boys and girls exist calls for an investigation into why anyone, especially a parent of a girl and a boy, would ever prefer one child over another based on their gender. There are a number of reasons that may influence the perception of a parent or a head of household to be biased toward a particular gender.

The study uses data collected from the South Eastern Region of Malawi, among rural and urban heads of households on the determinants of the perception of girl education. A number of questions were asked regarding the head of household’ perceptions toward girls’ education. Cross-tabulations were conducted with chi-square tests on the household characteristics in order to ascertain the characteristics that are associated with people’s perception of girl education. The results indicated a difference between male and female-headed households and between rural and urban areas, with the urban households showing no preference between a boy child and a girl child. Male, rural heads of households were found to be against girl education.


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