Adult Education and Missing Women: Evidence from India's Saakshar Bharat Literacy Program
- Nearly 800 million adults are illiterate worldwide, two-thirds of them women. Gender gaps in educational attainment coincide with inequities in health, personal agency, and labor market outcomes. With the aim of reducing the gender disparity in basic education among adults, the Government of India’s Saakshar Bharat program provided functional literacy training to over 70 million women in 157,000 village-level literacy centers between 2009 and 2018. Despite its size and scope, there have been no comprehensive quantitative evaluations of this program. Using a regression discontinuity approach, I find that the program raised female literacy rates in eligible districts by three percentage points and lowered mortality among elderly women and infant girls in eligible districts. Younger program-eligible women were more likely to work and experienced greater personal autonomy. Reductions in female child mortality, however, are accompanied by a rise in sex ratios at birth, leading to an overall increase in missing girls. The results indicate the promise of large-scale female empowerment programs — as well as the need to anticipate unintended interactions with persistent cultural norms.
|Type of resource
|May 14, 2020
|Department of Economics
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- Preferred Citation
- Shankar, Nikhil. (2020). Adult Education and Missing Women: Evidence from India's Saakshar Bharat Literacy Program. Stanford Digital Repository. Available at: https://purl.stanford.edu/ht235kp9815
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