Closing the Gender Gap in Education: Does it Foretell the Closing of the Employment, Marriage, and Motherhood Gaps?

CID Working Paper No. 220

Ina Ganguli, Ricardo Hausmann, and Martina Viarengo
April 2011


In this paper we examine several dimensions of gender disparity for a sample of 40 countries using micro-level data. We start by documenting the reversal of the gender education gap and ranking countries by the year in which it reversed. Then we turn to an analysis of the state of other gaps facing women: we compare men and women’s labor force participation (the labor force participation gap), married and single women’s labor force participation (the marriage gap), and mothers’ and non-mother’s labor force participation (the motherhood gap). We show that gaps still exist in these spheres in many countries, though there is significant heterogeneity among countries in terms of the size of and the speed at which these gaps are changing. We also show the relationship between the gaps and ask how much the participation gap would be reduced if the gaps in other spheres were eliminated. In general, we show that while there seems to be a relationship between the decline of the education gap and the reduction of the other gaps, the link is rather weak and highly heterogeneous across countries.

Keywords: development, gender gap, education

JEL subject codes: O12, J16, I2