Causes of Low Educational Attainment and an Early Transition to Adulthood in Guatemala: Ethnicity, Gender, or Poverty?
Kelly Hallman, Population Council
While educational achievement in Guatemala is low by Latin American standards, Mayan females are particularly vulnerable. Adult illiteracy is 15% in the LAC region, 30% nationally in Guatemala, but 75% among Mayan women. The 2000 Living Standards Measurement Survey is used to examine factors influencing low rates of educational achievement among young people in Guatemala aged 10-19, with special attention to Mayan females. Relative contributions of ethnicity, gender, and poverty are explored. Preliminary results show Mayan girls start school later and dropout earlier than male Mayans and female non-Mayans. Marriage and first pregnancy occur 3-4 years post-dropout, indicating non-demographic influences such as work burdens. One-half of 15-19 year-old Mayan females are neither enrolled in school nor working for pay, implying large amounts of time in unpaid work. Study results will help focus and target policies and programs intended to enhance educational opportunities of young Mayan females in Guatemala.