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A Bird's Eye View of Gender Differences in Education in OECD Countries


  • Angelica Salvi del Pero


  • Alexandra Bytchkova



This paper presents an overview of gender differences in education outcomes in OECD countries. A rich set of indicators describes the improvement of educational attainment among women over the past decades, and various dimensions of male under-performance in education. Possible explanatory factors include incentives provided by changing employment opportunities for women, demographic trends, as well as the higher sensitivity of boys to disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. Gender differences in field of study and in performance by subject are found to be related to attitudes and self-perceptions towards academic subjects, which are in turn influenced by social norms. A number of policy options to address gender gaps are presented in the final section of the paper. Ce document présente un aperçu des différences entre garçons et filles dans les résultats scolaires des pays de l’OCDE. Les indicateurs utilisés décrivent l’amélioration du niveau d’instruction des femmes au cours des dernières décennies et les différents domaines dans lesquels les garçons obtiennent des résultats inférieurs par rapport aux filles. Parmi les explications avancées figurent les politiques encourageant les opportunités d’emploi pour les femmes, les tendances démographiques ainsi que la vulnérabilité accrue des garçons issus de milieux socio-économiques défavorisés. Les différences entre hommes et femmes dans le domaine des études et dans les résultats scolaires par discipline tiennent aux mentalités et à l’autoperception des disciplines, et sont elles-mêmes influencées par les normes sociales. La dernière section du document présente un certain nombre de mesures pouvant combler les disparités entre hommes et femmes.

Suggested Citation

  • Angelica Salvi del Pero & Alexandra Bytchkova, 2013. "A Bird's Eye View of Gender Differences in Education in OECD Countries," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 149, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:149-en

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    Cited by:

    1. Czibor, Eszter & Onderstal, Sander & Sloof, Randolph & van Praag, Mirjam C., 2014. "Does Relative Grading Help Male Students? Evidence from a Field Experiment in the Classroom," IZA Discussion Papers 8429, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    attitudes; college major; education attainment; gender; PISA; student performance;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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