Evgeny Kochkin, Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg
Gender bias in educational expectations of children from Indian rural area
India has made significant steps on the way to the industrialization for the last two decades. This process caused dramatic changes in both urban and rural parts of the society. On the one hand, many states faced such changes as increasing urban-rural migration, raising role of rural non-farm economy as well as rural towns, improvement in quality of social infrastructure. On the other hand, traditional social institutions such as dowry, arranged marriage, informal cast and gender inequality still have a strong influence on the life of people, especially in rural communities. The aim of this paper is to discuss the role of current structural conditions in producing the relations between gender and educational expectations of children from Indian villages and rural towns.
The empirical part of the paper is based on statistical analysis of the data set which was collected in a rural area of Maharashtra in 2009; particularly, data about 574 10th grade students from three schools located in one rural town. This survey was a collective project of the Sociology of Education and Science Laboratory (St. Petersburg, Russia) and the Bombay Mother’s and Children’s Welfare Society (Mumbai, India). Questionnaires for the survey contained sets of questions on educational expectations and aspirations, as well as blocks on student’s values, personal characteristics (gender and achievements), domestic chores, assets of their families.
Different authors argue that bias in educational expectations of boys and girls could be explained by national norms and values. Thus, national norms predict heavily participation of different genders in politics, labor market as well as equality of financial returns to education (McDaniel, 2010). These attitudes might affect highly educational expectations of children. In an attempt to test this hypothesis, multivariate statistical analysis (logistic regression and factorial ANOVA) has been applied to the data collected in India. Thus, results of the analysis have shown that there is a significant interaction effect of gender and social background on educational expectations of children from this area. In particular, difference in educational expectations of girls and boys from the district occurs mostly among children from backward casts and tribes.