An Exploration of the Female Headship Effect on Educational Participation in Sub-Saharan Africa

Pearl Kyei, University of Pennsylvania

Female headship, typically synonymous with single parenthood, in industrialized countries is associated with lower cognitive development and academic achievement of children. In Sub-Saharan Africa however, female headship tends to have a positive association with children’s educational participation, even though female-headed households have fewer economic resources than male-headed ones. The purpose of this paper is to explore the pathways through which female headship influences the educational attainment, achievement and aspirations of children. The expected finding is that greater social capital and more child-oriented allocation of household resources will be the main explanations for this paradox.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 71: International Perspectives on Family Structure and Children’s Education