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Gender, Social Change, and Educational Attainment

Publication Abstract

Beutel, Ann M., and William G. Axinn. 2002. “Gender, Social Change, and Educational Attainment.” Economic Development and Cultural Change 51(1):109-34.

Sociological research has focused much attention on processes of educational attainment. In part, this is because of direct benefits thought to result from education and, in part, because educational attainment is considered a key step in other processes of attainment, such as occupational attainment. Because education gives individuals opportunities to achieve status mobility, the links between ascribed dimensions of status, such as gender, race, and education, have always drawn sociologists’ attention. The spread of mass education constitutes a fundamental social transformation and a watershed in attainment processes because it opens up previously unavailable status mobility routes. Rarely, however, do we have an opportunity to examine directly the relationship between ascribed dimensions of status and educational attainment during the very beginning of the spread of mass education. In this article, we use a unique set of measures from a setting in the midst of the spread of education to examine both the impact of gender on processes of educational attainment and the ways in which community‐level social change attenuates the impact of gender on education.

DOI: 10.1086/345517