Gender, Absenteeism and Menstruation: Evidence from Rural Malawi

Monica J. Grant, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Cynthia B. Lloyd, Population Council
Barbara S. Mensch, Population Council

The management of menstruation has recently emerged as a promising domain for international interventions with the ultimate goal of increasing and reinforcing girls’ schooling. While menstruation may negatively impact girls’ quality of life in particular cultural and physical environments, few studies have examined whether a relationship between menstruation and girls’ schooling outcomes exists. We use cross-sectional data from rural Malawi to examine gender differences in school absenteeism. These data allow us to examine the factors that are associated with absenteeism and to evaluate the interaction of these factors with gender. In particular, we focus on the availability and quality of toilet facilities in relation to girls’ attendance patterns. Given that toilet facilities and hygiene issues have been given substantial attention in the policy domain, our analysis will provide insights into current patterns of gender disadvantage and the potential impact of such interventions on girls' school outcomes.

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Presented in Session 160: Women's Empowerment and Disempowerment in Developing Countries