Determinants of Private Demand - Gender
Hypothetically, let us consider a family with two children, a boy and a girl. Let it be that both of them qualify in an entrance examination for admission into an engineering degree course in the same year. The parents discuss the costs of engineering education which is to be borne for a period of four years. Costs include fees, books which are quite expensive from the standards of a middle class family and other items of maintenance.
The family comes to realise that they can afford to finance only one of the two for engineering education. The question at this stage would be: whom would they prefer to get engineering education, the boy or the girl? In a typical Indian family there would be no doubt that the boy would get the preferential treatment. This may be called the gender bias in private investment in education. Gender bias is observed at all levels of education as reflected in participation rates, mean educational levels, literacy rates, etc. The gender bias gets more pronounced due to economic constraints in the family. This fact is being recognised by the policy makers and education of the girl child is being subsidised in many states up to a certain level.