Women’s Role In Domestic Decisionmaking In Pakistan: Implications For Reproductive Behaviour

Naushin Mahmood


Women’s involvement in domestic decision-making is recognized
as a distinct aspect of her autonomy that has its implications for
reproductive behaviour. Using data from the Pakistan Fertility and
Family Planning Survey 1996-97, this study examines the extent of
Pakistani women’s participation in household decision-making relative to
their husbands and other family members, and determines its effects on
the demand for children and higher contraceptive use in both urban and
rural settings. The findings reveal that women’s decision-making
authority is clearly related to the context in which they live as urban
women have an almost equal say in household matters, as their husbands,
whereas most rural women report that their husbands and other family
members have a predominant role in household decisions with regard to
seeking medical treatment for a sick child or to make purchases of
household items. The results also indicate that women with greater
freedom to go outside home alone are also more likely to participate in
domestic decisions, and the linkage is stronger for rural than urban
women. The multivariate analysis reveals that the effect of
decision-making variables on measures of reproductive behaviour is
strongly conditioned by socio-economic and demographic factors, implying
that measures of women empowerment give only a partial explanation of
women’s likelihood to desire fewer children and increase contraceptive
use. The results in all suggest that Pakistani women’s enhanced role in
household decision-making has its effects relevant to achieving gender
equality and fertility reduction outcomes - the goals that are central
to population and development policy.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.30541/v41i2pp.121-148


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