Mongolia is run by a multi-party democratic government that has made major strides in social accomplishments since the transition from a single party government.
After the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, Mongolia needed to regulate its economy since the Soviet Union and the Eastern European bloc were Mongolia’s only trading partners.
With both partners inaccessible after 1991, international financial organizations such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and the International Monetary Fund advised Mongolia to transition from a planned to a market economy.
This resulted in the privatization of the country’s assets, elimination of government subsidies, reductions in government and a balanced budget.
These dramatic events heavily influenced the education of women and their position in the labor industry.
The top 10 facts about girls’ education in Mongolia will highlight the benefits, struggles and social situations girls in Mongolia face when it comes to their education.
Top 10 Facts About Girls’ Education in Mongolia
- Since 2002, rates of female unemployment and poverty have increased despite the economic growth of the country. The percentage of women living in absolute poverty remains above 30 percent.
- Thousands of women lost their jobs after the Mongolian economy transitioned from a planned to a market one. The percent of the female labor force is estimated to be at 5.7, a 0.7 percent difference from the world’s average of 5.0 percent.
- The dominant attitude toward women in the country is that they are primarily responsible for housework and children. The Time Use survey from 2007 showed that almost 70 percent of housework is run by women, equivalent to 5.6 hours per day in comparison to 2.7 hours for men. In low-income families, income generated by males is usually used to pay for the girls’ education. The social idea that men are considered physically stronger to survive heavy physical work such as mining, herding and construction result in parents more inclined to enroll their daughters in higher education. The traditional practice of making the youngest son heir to family property may also be another reason for parents desiring to keep their boys at home.
- The collapse of the Soviet Union sparked a “reverse gender gap”. More women are in higher education than men because many Mongolian families began sending their daughters to school and university in the capital of Mongolia. Many parents believe that their daughters will take better care of them in their old age. Others believe women need to learn other skills than herding livestock and housework.
- The literacy rate for females that are 15-24 years old is at 97.3 percent, which is higher than for males of the same age that are at 94.1 percent. The net attendance ratio for secondary school participation from 2008-20012 is at 95.2 percent for females, compared to males who stand at 90.7 percent.
- Despite the fact that Mongolian women are better educated than their male peers, statistics show that they are less likely to make use of this education. According to a study launched in the Mongolia capital, Ulaanbaatar, the gender gap in labor force participation has more than doubled in the last two decades, exceeding 12.6 percent in 2018.
- In poor households, women work longer hours than men because families are beginning to depend more on subsistence production, which is deemed the female’s job in Mongolia. Many women are urged to stay home rather than pursue alternative economic opportunities, compromising their health and education. The shift to a free market economy has led to a persistent wage gap, inefficient investments in education, and loss of contributions for women to improve in economic growth.
- Employed women earn less than 12.5 percent per month than men on average. According to the National Statistics Office and World Development Indicators, men are 10 percent more likely to participate in the labor force at 68 percent compared to women at 58 percent.
- The Shirin Pandju Merali Foundation established a university scholarship program for Mongolian women in the summer of 2010. The program was supported by the Asia Foundation and its local partner, the Zorig Foundation. The competitive program selects 60 girls from low-income families to attend the National University of Mongolia and the Mongolian University of Science and Technology. Many women decide to enroll in science fields, increasing the representation in the advancement of technology and innovation.
- The World Bank suggests that gender gaps can be reduced by improving the legal and regulatory environment that tackles gender-specific constraints. Specifically, enforcing anti-discrimination policies, monitoring gender indicator and upgrading eldercare and childcare services will encourage more women to hold more secure, entrepreneurship jobs. Long-term measures to decrease the gender norms and discriminations among employers and providing access to finance and training will allow women entrepreneurs to realize the full potential of their businesses.
Mongolia is addressing the challenges that face women in education. Reducing the school dropout rates, especially in rural areas, improving the coverage and quality of preschool education, and upgrading the teaching quality are some ways Mongolia is working to achieve universal primary education of 100 percent.
These top 10 facts about girls’ education in Mongolia highlight the gender disparities between women and men in education.
In order for Mongolia to efficiently address the issues women face in the labor, economic and entrepreneur industry, as well as unemployment, the obstacles women are facing in the education system must be corrected and revised.
– Aria Ma