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Female education is essential for the development of a nation. This is mainly because women are involved in all sorts of activities both at a regional level and at the community level such as child bearing and household chores etc. Hence it is very important to provide quality education to women to help them contribute to the development of the nation in a meaningful way. Various studies show that women's education is very important in order to improve the socio-economic position of their families. It is the inequality in access to education for female students that prevents them from obtaining the essential education necessary for their well being and their family's development. The traditional thinking of many societies that women are just supposed to do the household work has contributed largely to the low levels of female education around the globe. It is seen however that the societies that have focused on providing better education to women have better indicators of social welfare. These societies for example have lower infant mortality rate apart from that the issue of lower fertility rates, also increased life expectancy, improved nutrition and most importantly better opportunities for their children. Other factors such as residential status and parent's concern and attitude towards female students also plays an important role in improving the educational status of female students in any society. Parent's level of education also has a direct impact on their daughter's education. The link between the mother and daughter is the strongest. Poverty, parent's professional status, lack of skilled teachers and lack of incentives such as scholarships for women, deprivation of parental care and proper educational policies affect the standard of female education. (I.A. Adetunde, 2008)
Thus Women's education is a very important issue. Women who are educated can make profound choices in the matter of health, nutrition and basic upbringing of a child. There is great impact on infant mortality health, fertility, productivity and a child's academic performance if women are educated.
On 8th March 2004 Laura Bush (the first lady at that time) said on the women's day that when a women is denied education "you've denied half of the population the chance to succeed and the chance to contribute to a society and to a culture." she also said that " Women are more likely to be able to make informed choice so that their children don't suffer from malnutrition or other diseases and ensure that their children can receive best health care."
In Every culture, the responsibility of the upbringing and nourishing of a child lies in the hands of the mother. Due to this responsibility the women's education has gained quite an importance globally. Studies reveal that women's education has strong implications on every aspect of a child's upbringing and one of them is the child's academic performance. Children of educated mothers are seen to have better academic performance as compared to children of less or uneducated mothers. (Tahir Andrabi, Jishnu Das, Asim Ijaz Khwaja: March 2009)
Educated mothers can help their children throughout their life, but most importantly they can help their children in their early days of education. They try to indulge their children in more productive educational activities apart from what they study at school. This enhances the child's educational capabilities and helps them achieve success. According to a study an additional year of post compulsory schooling of a mother has a positive impact on their child's academic performance i.e. "mothers who stay in full time education beyond the minimum school leaving age are more likely to demonstrate positive educational attitudes and behaviours such as reading to their children". (Leon Feinstein and Ricardo Sabates: January 2008)
"Higher education is consistently associated with a higher likelihood of marriage, whereas less education is associated with a higher likelihood of divorce" (Jennifer March Augustine, 2010). Thus educated mothers tend to have more stable relationships and family status. This in turn affects their children's academic performance. Children have a healthy environment to live in and thus can concentrate more on their studies and perform well. The flow of resources such as time, money and socio-emotional support etc from the mother to children is affected by this relationship status. (Jennifer March Augustine, 2010).
Marital and fertility patterns have been seen to change over the last few decades. Women who are more educated (college graduates) have been the least likely to get married and have children historically. Today however, the situation is changing and this marriage gap is eroding
The returns to marriage have changed. College educated women marry later, do not view marriage as a "financial security", have fewer children and declining divorce rates since 1970's as compared to women without college degrees. These factors help women to have a better and a healthier family life which in turn helps them in their Childs upbringing. The children of more educated women thus can focus more on their studies as they have a healthier environment to study in and so they perform well (Adam Isen Feb. 2010). A Mothers education influences a child mostly during the child's early years of education (primary education). Educated mothers make their children spend more time in outdoor activities, reading etc and are concerned about their child's progress at school and have expectations of the child's future educational achievements .This encourages the child to focus more on his studies and enhances his capabilities. (Leon Feinstein and Ricardo Sabates: January 2008).
Moreover there are substantial intergenerational returns to education. An additional year of a mother's schooling makes a positive contribution to the Childs academic performance. It increases the Childs performance on a standardized math test by almost 0.1 of a standard deviation and reduces the incidence of behavioural problems especially for children aged 7-8.There are various channels that transmit the effect of maternal education to the child, including parental investments throughout different stages of a Childs life and family environment. Educated women tend to have a healthier home environment with better and more stable family lives which then contribute to their Childs educational excellence. Maternal education also reduces grade repetition and the incidence of behavioural problems. Educated mothers basically avoid early childbearing, are more likely to be married to educated men and tend to have higher incomes. Thus they can contribute in several ways to their Childs education for example through books, involving them in extracurricular activities or buying them a computer. This additional investment pays off in the form of improved child performance in all academic aspects of his life. Even if educated mothers work more they do not neglect their children as they are aware of the negative consequences of doing so (Pedro Carneiro, Sep 2007).
Also educated mothers tend to spend more time with their children and their children tend to spend more time studying outside school thus there is a strong impact of maternal education on their child's test scores.( Tahir Andrabi, Jishnu Das and Asim Ijaz Khwaja, March 2009).
Educated mothers bring in more encouragement and ability for their children to succeed in life. Children of educated mothers are usually more confident, free from anxieties, ambitious, self reliant and more focused. It is seen that an increase in mother's education leads to an increase in the students' achievement at school .Those mothers who stayed on in education rather than just having the basic primary education can help their children in a better way. A direct relationship is seen between a mother's education level and their child's academic performance. (Azra Parveen & Muhammad Tayyab Alam 2008).
Traditionally it has been thought that an increase in investment in women's schooling pays off in the form of increased schooling of the next generation. Some authors have a different view however. According to them the positive relationship between mother-child schooling can not entirely be considered true as it is somewhat biased upward due to the correlations between schooling and assortative mating and heritable "ability". The other studies, they argue have not considered these factors and thus conclude showing a positive relationship between mother-child schooling and education. "An increase in the schooling of women does not have beneficial effects in terms of the schooling of children" (Jere R. Behrman and Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2002). Increases maternal schooling and education instead makes the mothers concentrate less on their homes, family and specifically their children. It is emphasized that the time of the women is an essential factor in childbearing and thus women should concentrate more on their families and not on education. This, they argue will lead to a better academic future for their child. Better schooling of the mother however can improve a Childs health in certain situations. Basically the result of investing in women's schooling requires attention to the role played by schooling in the labor and marriage market for women. (Jere R. Behrman and Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2002)
Literacy status of mothers also strongly affects the health and nutritional state of their children thus literate mothers can take better care of their child's health and protect them against several diseases. With illiterate mothers however there are chances of children developing malnutrition especially children less than three years of age who are underweight. Malnutrition negatively affects the child's academic performance. An educated mother takes better care of their Childs health and thus their child is more successful throughout his life. Although there is a positive correlation between a mother's education and their Childs health some studies reveal that there is hardly any significant effect of a mother's education on Childs health if mothers have got only primary education. Further it has been found that the first three years of mother's education has no impact on the Childs health. The impact is seen after the first three years and the result is not linear in education. After 4 to 6 years of education, the magnitude of this effect becomes small but then again picks up after 1 years of education. (Meherun Ahmed May 2009).
Nonetheless, some scholars do not completely support the correlation that there is a strong causal relationship between maternal education and child health. According to them this link has hardly been analyzed properly using the most appropriate statistical models. They are using the community-level fixed-effects models and thus argue "maternal education may be a proxy for the socioeconomic status of the household as well as for characteristics of the community of residence". Therefore according to them there is a possibility that the positive relationship between maternal education and child health may be untrue. By controlling for a few socioeconomic variables the maternal education/child health link is seen to be weak. Three markers of child health namely infant mortality, immunization status and children's height-for-age have been examined. Maternal education has a significant impact on height-for-age and infant mortality in only a few countries around the world. However on the other hand maternal education has a strong positive effect on children's immunization status in about half of the countries of the world even after implementing the community and individual level controls. (SONALDE DESAI AND SOUMYA ALVA, 1998)
According to another study, educated parents tend to have educated children. The author focused on studying whether the intergenerational transmission of human capital is more behavioural (nurture) or innate (nature). The data collected helped in separating genetic from environmental parental influences. Results of the analysis emphasised that the nurture component is more important for both parents (mother and father).The education of the most educated female adult in a household has a strong positive effect on the schooling of the children in that household. This holds true for a Childs biological parents and for the parents of an adopted child. It can be said that the more the mother is educated, the better the Childs academic performance. When boys and girls are analysed separately it is seen that if the nurture component is isolated, the fathers education matters more for boys whereas a mothers education matters more for girls. The positive effects of the education of the adoptive parents are only seen for children related to the head of their new households (Damien de Walque, 2005).