Parental perceptions have been considered important for the primary school enrollment of girls, particularly in countries where female activities are constrained by social norms and values. In Yemen, primary school enrollment steadily improved throughout the 2000s, but the gender gap still remains. We conducted a comprehensive survey of households and schools in rural Yemen, in which fathers and mothers were separately asked about their educational aspirations for girls and their general attitudes toward girls' education, the marriage age for girls, and their attitudes toward women in the workforce.
This paper describes the perceptions of fathers and mothers, and empirically examines their relationship to primary school enrollment for girls aged 6-9 years and 10-14 years, controlling for both demand- and supply-side factors.
As a result, we observe a certain degree of variation in paternal and maternal perceptions among households and son preference in both the paternal and maternal aspirations. The regression analyses reveal that both the paternal and the maternal aspirations, and the son preference in their aspirations are strongly related to the enrollment of older girls.
Additionally, the analyses show that other paternal perceptions of girls' education, the desirable marriage age, and women in the workforce are statistically significant for older girls. We also found that paternal perceptions are more highly correlated to the enrollment of both younger and older girls than maternal perceptions, and that the supply-side factors such as the qualification of teachers and the presence of female teachers are also significant to the enrollment of girls.
Keywords: access, primary education, gender, Yemen