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Hindu women are less educated than Muslim, their gender gap is worse than all other religions: Pew

By Rajiv Shah
In a revelation which is likely to create ripples among Hindutva advocates, a top US research organization, Pew International, has said that Hindus may have made “substantial educational gains in recent decades”, yet the fact is, they “have the largest educational gender gap of any religion in the world”.
“On average, Hindu men have 2.7 more years of schooling than Hindu women, and just over half of Hindu women (53%) have no formal schooling, compared with 29% of Hindu men”, the Pew International report, titled “Religion and Education Around the World”, says, adding, "The gender gap in higher education is narrower, but Hindu men are still nearly twice as likely as women to have post-secondary degrees (13% vs. 7%).”
Worse, the report notes, “Even in the youngest generation of adults in the study, Hindu women are considerably more likely than Hindu men to have received no formal education (38% vs. 20%).” Based on information collected from 131 countries about differences in educational attainment by religion, one of the primary sources of data from India was “India Human Development Survey-II 2011-2012”.
While Muslims’ gender gap in educational attainment is quite poor, the report notes, it is not as bad that of Hindus. It says, “Muslim women around the globe have an average of 4.9 years of schooling, compared with 6.4 years among Muslim men. And formal education is especially low among Hindu women, who have 4.2 years of schooling on average, compared with 6.9 years among
Hindu men.”
It is not just in gender gap in education that the Hindus behind. The report alarmingly notes, “about four-in-ten Hindus (41%)” have “no formal schooling” as against “more than one-third of Muslims (36%)”,
The report adds, “Hindus have the lowest level of educational attainment of any major religious group in this study. Globally, they average 5.6 years of schooling adding… In other religious groups, the shares without any schooling range from 10% of Buddhists to 1% of Jews.”
Vast majority of the world’s Hindus live in India (94%) or in the bordering countries of Nepal (2.3%) and Bangladesh (1.2%). “In these three countries, Hindus tend to have low levels of education; in India, Hindus average 5.5 years of schooling, while in Nepal and Bangladesh they average 3.9 and 4.6 years, respectively”, says the report.
“However”, the report says, “In countries outside the Asia-Pacific region, where Hindus are a small religious minority, they are much more highly educated – and often are the most highly educated religious group in a particular country.”
“For instance”, it says, “Hindus in the United States have 15.7 years of schooling, on average – a full year more than the next most highly educated U.S. religious group (Jews), and nearly three years more than the average American adult (12.9 years). Hindus in Europe also are highly educated, averaging 13.9 years of schooling.”
At the same time, the report asserts, “Hindus, starting from a relatively low base, have made some of the most rapid educational gains of any religious group. Across the three generations in this study, Hindus have gained an average of nearly 3.4 additional years of schooling.”
However, this gain is not as much in India as elsewhere, the report says, adding, “The largest increase has taken place among Hindus in sub-Saharan Africa, where the youngest generation in the study has 10.2 years of schooling, on average, compared with 5.6 years of schooling for the oldest generation.”

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