Confronting social inequality through fertility change in Punjab, Pakistan: The role of girls’ schooling

Feyza Bhatti, Roger Jeffery

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


How, and how far, has the expansion of female schooling in Pakistani Punjab transformed gender and family relationships that bear on reproductive decisions? This chapter contributes to the field of gender and development, social change and demography, the understanding of contemporary demographic transitions and the role of female schooling in transforming gender roles and family relationships during these demographic processes.

A fertility transition in Pakistani Punjab has affected couples with very different levels of schooling. Notably, some aspects of young Punjabi women’s fertility outcomes – total numbers of children desired and achieved – have changed, whereas others, such as the pressures on young women to have a baby early in their marriage, remain. Female schooling has contributed to subtle but cumulatively significant transformations in micro-level gendered inequalities and family dynamics.

Utilizing qualitative research as well as quantitative data sets, the chapter analyses desired numbers of children, preference for sex composition and fertility behaviour of young Punjabi women with different schooling levels. It explores how schooling has contributed to the transformations in aspirations for and economic values of daughters, expectations regarding their marriages, the nature of conjugal and intergenerational relationships and the reproductive agency of young women.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReforming Education and Challenging Inequalities in Southern Contexts
Subtitle of host publicationResearch and Policy in International Development
EditorsPauline Rose, Madeleine Arnot, Roger Jeffery, Nidhi Singal
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780429293467
ISBN (Print)9780367264895
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2021

Publication series

NameEducation, Poverty and International Development


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