Going to School in Purdah: Female Schooling, Mobility Norms and Madrasas in Bangladesh
This paper looks at the determinants of secondary school attendance in Bangladesh with a focus on the interaction between community gender norms and relative supply of madrasas (i.e. Islamic schools). We present a theoretical framework where the probability of children's school participation varies with respect to a non‐economic factor – how the community observes social norms regarding female mobility – conditional upon the types of available schools. Household data from the Bangladesh Demographic Health Survey (BDHS) is combined with community information on the availability of non‐religious secondary schools and madrasas to test our theoretical predictions. We find that in communities which are more 'progressive', in the sense that women have a relatively high level of mobility, the effect of non‐religious school availability on attendance does not vary by gender. However in the more 'conservative communities', female schooling is more sensitive to the availability of, or distance to, madrasas.
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