Korea and gender parity in education

Follow the link to a blogpost and graph showing the average number of years of education  the people of a country get and how evenly that is shared by gender.

Note they use the phrase ‘school life expectancy’, which sounds a little weird to me.

From the post:

On the vertical axis in the figure below (click to enlarge) is total life expectancy in school and on the horizontal axis the ratio of female to male life expectancy in school.  The figure tells us a number of interesting things.  First, the largest imbalances are against women and these tend to occur in countries with a low level of total education.  South Korea is an interesting outlier.

A few island nations (to stretch a little the definition of ‘island’) seem to lead teh way, education-wise.

Following the links back to the source (the UN statistics division), I looked for Canada, as I couldn’t find it on the cluttered graph.  Below are Canada and a few other countries, for those who can’t find their country or who prefer numerical, rather than visual, presentation of data. Actually, I have not tried to make a chart with WordPress before.  With Blogger, the extra spaces would be ignored and the characters jammed together.  I hope there is a usable chart below.

Country or area     Men   Women    Total/ Average

Australia                        20         21                      21

Canada                           16          16                      16

RO Korea                        18          16                      17

US                                  15            17                     16

It looks like the data at the UN is very easily manipulated.  I don’t mean that in the spin-doctor sense; it is possible to make your own charts and tables on-site.

Data Centre

Access data and build your own statistical tables related to UNESCO’s fields of action.

The Data Centre contains over 1,000 types of indicators and raw data on education, literacy, science and technology, culture and communication.

Via Marginal Revolution.


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4 Responses to “Korea and gender parity in education”

  1. Korean Gender Reader « The Grand Narrative Says:

    […] found via Surprises Aplenty, the graph comes from Marginal Revolution, which unfortunately has only a minimal discussion of it. […]

  2. surprisesaplenty Says:

    Thanks for visiting, James.

  3. gordsellar Says:

    The best way to make a chart is using an HTML table:

    School Life Expectancy of Selected Nations, by Gender

    Country or area



    RO Korea


    As for the chart, wow: are Canadians really mostly stopping after a BA? I was thinking an MA was becoming more necessary now.

    I also wonder whether the disparity for men and women might not be skewed by the fact that tons of guys, going away for military service, tend to register in classes they won’t be taking? (Also, the period after their return when they are often pushed to return to school, but haven’t yet recovered psychologically from their military service period, and often bomb out for a semester or two, could easily explain why they’re taking longer. Then again, so could the fact that they’re also fighting for top TOEIC scores, against women who (a) don’t have to go to military and (b) tend to perform better at English than they do. I know a few young men who admitted to artificially prolonging their undergrad study to avoid the bad job market, so who knows how wide a practice that might be?

    I’d be interested in seeing how the length of study translates to educational attainment. (How many of those Koreans spending 18 years are actually getting MAs, for example.)

  4. gordsellar Says:

    Ack, blogger ate the HTML code, but worked: see here:


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