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The ‘Martha Effect’: The compounding female advantage in South African higher education

"In this paper we use population-wide panel data to follow every South African student from the 2008 cohort as they enter into and progress through university, following them for six years. We find indisputable evidence of a large female advantage that continues to grow at each hurdle of the higher education process. To be specific, relative to their male counterparts we find 27% more females who qualified for university, 34% more who enroll in university, 56% more who complete any undergraduate qualification and 66% more who attain a bachelor’s degree. This despite there being roughly equal numbers of boys and girls at the start of school."

Authors: Hendrik van Broekhuizen & Nic Spaull, November 2017


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