The Effect of Gender-Related Aspects of School Quality on Schoolgirl Pregnancy in Rural Malawi

Stephanie R. Psaki, Population Council
Monica J. Grant, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Erica Soler-Hampejsek, Population Council
Christine A. Kelly, Population Council
Paul C. Hewett, Population Council

The negative association between educational attainment and fertility has been well established. However, research on the role of school quality in the timing and level of fertility has been limited. Rather than pregnancy causing school dropout, these events may be caused by shared underlying factors, including gender inequitable school environments. Using data from the Malawi Schooling and Adolescent Study, we explore the relationship between gender-related aspects of school quality and schoolgirl pregnancy in rural Malawi, controlling for student characteristics. We compare these results with findings on the relationship between school quality and non-pregnancy related school dropout. Our results provide little evidence that gender-related aspects of school quality play an important role in driving either schoolgirl pregnancy or non-pregnancy related dropout in our sample. However, our results indicate the potentially important effects of school context defined more broadly, including the influence of peer groups, on risk of schoolgirl pregnancy and dropout.

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Presented in Session 176: Gender and Development