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Why Should Girls Go to School?: Qualitative Aspects of “Demand” for Girls' Schooling in Rural Pakistan

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This paper argues that the concept of “demand” for girls' schooling, though referenced frequently in the literature surrounding the Millennium Development Goals and “Education for All”, tends to be oversimplified and risks glossing over important variation in the ways parents understand the value of sending their daughters to school. The paper calls for closer attention to the qualitative aspects of demand for girls' schooling, and uses data from the author's doctoral research in rural Pakistan to demonstrate how such an approach can enrich existing research about the household-level perspectives associated with girls' enrolment in school. Findings underscore the extent to which parents diverge in their evaluations of the non-economic outcomes of girls' schooling, raising important questions about the processes through which individual and collective perceptions of the benefits of schooling emerge and transform.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2013

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  • The St Antony's International Review (STAIR) is the only peer-reviewed journal of international affairs at the University of Oxford. Set up by graduate students of St Antony's College in 2005, the Review has carved out a distinctive niche as a cross-disciplinary outlet for research on the most pressing contemporary global issues, providing a forum in which emerging scholars can publish their work alongside established academics and policymakers. Past contributors include Robert O. Keohane, James N. Rosenau, and Alfred Stepan.
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