The importance of increased levels of education in improving the status of women throughout the world is well established. Higher levels of education are associated with lower birth rates, higher incomes, and greater autonomy for women. In fact, it has been argued that education is a fundamental prerequisite for empowering women in all spheres of society (Lopez-Claros and Zahidi 2005: 5).
In the last third of the twentieth century, women have made particularly significant strides in many countries. For example, UNESCO reports that women