Willy Oppenheim

Year of Starting DPhil: 2010/2011

College: Pembroke

Research Project:

My doctoral research explores the processes through which parents in rural Pakistan make decisions about whether or not to send their daughters to school. Based on fieldwork conducted in three villages during 2011 and 2012, it works to improve upon the popular tendency to conceptualise ‘demand’ for schooling as a monolithic binary variable that operates in purely transactional forms, and instead offers a framework for approaching ‘demand’ as a contested field within which dynamic and divergent evaluative lenses operate not only at the moment of enrolment, but throughout the schooling process. The study describes different instances of ‘demand’ for girls’ schooling and explores the extent to which and the processes through which these particular evaluative lenses have emerged over time. By doing so, it aims to contribute  a new understanding of what it might mean to ‘stimulate demand’ for girls’ schooling, as well as a substantive description of the ways in which demand for girls’ schooling in selected sites in rural Pakistan both reflects and produces the dynamism of gender in those contexts.

Current research stage: final year


  • Oppenheim, W. (2013) “Why Should Girls Stay in School?: Qualitative Aspects of Demand for Girls’ Schooling in Rural Pakistan.” St. Antony’s International Review, 8 (2): 106-126.
  • Oppenheim, W. (2012) “Girls’ Schooling, Capabilities, and ‘Adaptive Preference’ in Rural Pakistan.” Human Welfare, 1: 1-12.

Email: willy.oppenheim@education.ox.ac.uk