The Pew Research Center completed a survey in 2016 comparing world religions in regards to their levels of education. To the surprise of very few, Jews were the most educated group with an average of 13.4 years of education. What was also notable, was that Jews were the only religious group in which the level of education for men and women was the same.
The educational level for all ages in each religion has been rising, with Hindus and Muslims making the strongest gains (people over age 55 in those religions have only about 3.5 years of education). Unfortunately, as younger Hindus and Muslims get educated, the gender gap remains significant. Due to a rigid patriarchal society in many poor countries, 33% of young Muslim women and 38% of young Hindu women receive no formal education.
The exact opposite trend is happening among Jews. For older Jews, men (66%) outpace women (59%) in post-secondary degrees, while for younger Jews, women (69%) outpace men (57%).
Jews have a higher level of education in every country they live in. In Brazil, Jews average 12.5 years of schooling while non-Jews average 6.8 years. In South Africa, Jews average 12.0 years in school and non-Jews average 7.2 years.
Latin America is a curious anomaly regarding educational gender gaps for Jews and non-Jews. Jewish men average 12.1 years of education and Jewish women 11.6 years, a 0.5 year gap. Meanwhile, non-Jewish men and non-Jewish women have 7.4 and 7.3 years of schooling, respectively, almost no gap at all. So while Jews in Latin America are more highly educated than non-Jews as they are in every continent, the gender gap is uniquely more pronounced in that community than in society.
Overall, Jews are the most highly educated and have achieved gender parity unlike any other group.
As the United Nations meets in March 2021 to discuss the role of women around the world, perhaps it is time for it to promote Jewish women into leadership positions at the troubled agency.
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