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Explaining the Gender Gap in Learning Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Role of Household Tasks

Sugata Sumida
Keisuke Kawata


A gender gap in learning performance is often seen in sub-Saharan African countries, with girls underperforming boys. Scholars have explored the sources of this gap, with some proposing household tasks as one such source. They explain that girls' performance is worse because girls engage more in household tasks. Such a claim seems plausible, though it has not been rigorously proven. This study, therefore, examines empirically whether household tasks can explain the gender gap in the learning performance of sub-Saharan African countries through the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition technique. Our results show little evidence that the difference in household task engagement explains the gender gap in learning performance. Our analytical results suggest that the source of the gender gap exists else where than household tasks, for example, students' age, classroom environment, and maternal support. Our results highlight the need to examine the appropriate sources to resolve the chronic gender gap in sub-Saharan Africa.

Keywords: gender gap, learning performance, household tasks, subSaharan Africa, Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1726-3700
print ISSN: 1012-1080