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Boys and young men in Ethiopia have higher aspirations than their parents did, but often feel 'hopeless' due a lack of education or access to high status jobs, says new research.

Boys want high status jobs but there are scarce opportunities, says research Young Lives

Image: Boys want high status jobs but there are scarce opportunities, Young Lives

A picture has emerged of many boys being taken out of school to work on the family farm or business, or in paid work. Girls had greater flexibility to combine their household responsibilities with their schooling so were able to progress academically.

The research paper, based on longitudinal studies of nearly 1,000 boys and girls in rural and urban parts of Ethiopia, is one of those presented at the Young Lives Gender and Youth Conference in Oxford and shows boys as well as girls need to find their social worth in developing countries. Oxford University researchers from the Young Lives project find that, generally, Ethiopian boys’ educational aspirations are initially higher than the girls, with parents also having higher expectations for sons at the outset. However, after the age of 15, boys’ educational aspirations decline in comparison. Of 908 teenage boys aged between 15 and 19, more than a third of the boys were working (36%) and one third were studying and working (32%); whereas 39% of girls reported 'only studying' and 23% 'studying and working'.

Read more on the University website (opens new window)