Journal of Education & Social Policy

ISSN 2375-0782 (Print) 2375-0790 (Online)

The Stubborn Law of Female-Male Literacy: Why the Gap May Widen
Maneesh Arora and Rein Taagepera

Abstract
Graphing female literacy rates (F) versus the male (M) reveals an empirical law of female-male literacy: “As literacy in a country increases, female literacy rate remains a fixed exponent of the male” – F=Mk. Hence the male-female literacy gap is bound to widen at first and shrink later on. This may lead to a rethinking of literacy policies, particularly in those countries with low overall literacy rates. Values of exponent k range from 1.5 to 2.5. They may express deep-set gender bias that persists throughout modernization, even while UNDP Gender Inequality Index may decrease. The broadest implication is that locating deterministically couched laws, analogous to those in natural sciences, needs conceptual thinking rather than only statistical analysis

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