Women, Work and Education
I am fascinated by sociology. While it is very easy in this field to confuse correlation with causation, nevertheless the idea that seemingly unrelated entities are tightly joined together simply via Human Nature (HN) is, well, awesome!
One such theory holds that woman’s education is inversely proportional to age of marriage and birth rate. This is backed up by the data on developed countries which have seen a dip in birth rate after liberalization of women. Any body who has crossed borders between two different cultures will agree to this.
So it was interesting to see something similar at New York Times (Garment Factories, Changing Women’s Roles in Poor Countries). Here are the relevant quotes:
As an experienced seamstress, she (Maasuda Akthar, a woman working at a garment factory)… now makes more money than him (her husband)… she did not plan to have children for a few years… girls who live in villages with garment factories tend to marry later and have children later than the girls who grow up in villages without factories. In other countries, this has typically happened as women get more educated, but Mr. Mobarak’s survey of 1,500 families suggests that it is happening slightly differently in Bangladesh, which has a literacy rate of just 55 percent.
So, there is a discrepancy. It is not education but equality. Here is a mildly relevant quote:
The effect is more muted for girls 16 to 19 in age, who are more likely to drop out earlier to start working in the factories… Not surprisingly, men still manage and own most Bangladeshi garment factories.
Equality, and not education, in employment breeds equality in child birth. This is further backed up by the data in developed world, specially Nordic and Scandinavian countries where (educated) women and men are now demanding maternal and paternal leave respectively from work to raise children. But – the age of marriage is again slipping back to lower side.*
This leads us to the main question at hand: Are we on the verge of a new world, or will it swing back to Ye Olde times?
* I don’t have the data at hand currently. This post will be updated when I find a reliable source again.