Returns to schooling for women are high – so says Bono and the research. A couple of years ago, in an essay in Time magazine Bono wrote: “Give girls just one additional year of schooling and their wages go up almost 12 percent.” He said the same thing a year before that at the Munich Security Conference. The source of that quote was a 2014 World Bank paper and a recent update confirms this is still the case. At the same time, girls are staying in school longer and learning more. However, these gains are at risk as COVID-19 is presenting a crisis within a crisis for girls’ education.
On average, one additional year of schooling increases women’s returns to education by 12 percent compared with 10 percent for men. The gap in favor of women has increased by a percentage point over the last decade. Returns at the primary level are about the same for men and women but then diverge at the secondary level – 9 percent for women versus 7 percent for men – and at the tertiary level – 17 percent for women and 15 percent for men. These returns are higher for women than for men in all economies and all regions. At the higher education level returns have increased overall, but particularly for women.
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