Can Women’s Perceptions of Their Own Autonomy Enable Them to Generate Changes in Their Reproductive Behavior? Evidences from Gender Perspectives

Nizamuddin Khan, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

The dimensions of women’s autonomy in terms of outside mobility, access to economic resources and involvement in household decisions and their association with fertility and contraceptive behavior were investigated in a probability sample of 418 young married couples in Ratlam district of Madhya Pradesh, India. Findings reveal that all the three dimensions of women’s autonomy are strongly encouraged by both the spouses in their opinion and experience. Multivariate regression suggests that results are not constantly significant from all the three dimensions but striking in several ways. The association of all three dimensions is positive with socio-economic and demographic factors, linked to low fertility and contraceptive use after controlling the covariates. Further, opinions are higher than experience and wives are more in favor of women’s autonomy than their husbands. We conclude that involving husbands and encouraging couples’ joint decision-making in reproductive behavior may provide an important strategy in achieving women’s autonomy.

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Presented in Poster Session 6