Women's education and fertility in Islamic countries

Mohammad Abbasi Shavazi, Fatemah Torabi

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Abstract

    Education is the main driving force of development, autonomy and demographic change. It provides women access to modern ways of thinking, confidence to engage with the modern world, reduces infant mortality, raises age at marriage and stimulates higher levels of gender equity within couple relationships. Schooling is also positively related with more favorable attitudes towards birth control, greater knowledge of contraception, and husband-wife communication. It also promotes female labour force participation in the cash economy hence raising the opportunity cost of having children. This chapter, first, discusses the value that Islam places on women’s education, and presents the trend of female education in Muslim-majority countries. Second, country level differences as well as gender gap in education and the reasons for this diversity are reviewed. Third, fertility change in Islamic countries and the pathways by which female education has had impact on fertility is examined. The result shows that the level of women’s education has increased substantially in most of the Islamic world and women have higher access to formal schooling and acquire information through various means of communication. Thus, there is a need to reconsider many of the stereotypes indicating that Muslim societies for religious reason discriminate against women. As a consequence of educational achievements, the traditional values and norms have been weakened, although in many cases there is strong resistance to these influences. Considerable fertility decline occurred in these countries can be explained by the improvements in female education that has strongly affected the supply and the demand for children as well as fertility regulations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPopulation Dynamics in Muslim Countries: Assembling the Jigsaw
    Editors Hans Groth, Alfonso Sousa-Poza
    Place of PublicationHeidelberg
    PublisherSpringer
    Pages43-62
    Edition1st
    ISBN (Print)9783642278808
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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