GIRLS' EDUCATION IN INDIA: A MULTILEVEL EXAMINATION FROM A CAPABILITY PERSPECTIVE
Godbole, Pragati Avinash
Croninger, Robert G.
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This quantitative study, guided by the Capability Approach (Sen, 1999), examines how effective opportunities or contextual capabilities influence educational outcomes or education functionings of children, specifically girls in India. Using hierarchical linear modeling techniques and controlling for individual conversion factors, this study explores the links between contextual capabilities such as life, bodily integrity, and political empowerment and the gender gap in children's functionings - reading, arithmetic, and writing proficiency. The study also investigates the relationship between contextual capabilities and the acquisition of these functionings for children in general. Drawn from the India Human Development Survey (Desai, et al., 2007), I used data from 11,345 children (ages 8-11) in 500 rural and urban districts across India. The relationship of contextual capabilities and educational functionings as measured in this study seems to be a complex one. Contextual capabilities of bodily integrity, political empowerment, and adult female education reduced the gender gap in reading and arithmetic proficiency in rural districts and adult female education also reduced the gender gap in arithmetic proficiency in urban districts. Contextual capabilities also had modest associations with reading, arithmetic, and writing proficiency in several models but the direction of some relationships was unanticipated. This study seeks to contribute to literature on Capability Approach and provides a possible way to operationalize capabilities by empirically distinguishing between contextual capabilities and individual functionings. Findings have implications for further research on girls' education and education of other traditionally marginalized groups.