Faculty of Public Health - Andalas University - OCS, 13th IEA SEA Meeting and ICPH - SDev

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Effect of women’s empowerment on their reproductive health practices: A study of NFHS data
Alok Kumar, Subhi Srivastava, Sangeeta Kansal

Last modified: 2018-08-07


Introduction: Links between empowerment and health in general and specifically for women are receiving growing recognition from researchers. The empowerment of women is a fundamental prerequisite for their health. It is believed that empowered women can contribute to the health, productivity and benefit of the whole family and community and improved prospects for the next generation. This study is to investigate whether women’s empowerment in two demographically diverse study groups i.e., Northern states and Southern states in India is linked with their reproductive health practices.

Materials & Methods: Women who were currently married or living with a partner were included in the analysis. The outcome of interest in this analysis was use of any (modern or traditional) contraceptive method, place of delivery and delivery by skilled birth attendant. Factor analysis was employed to determine theoretically meaningful dimensions of empowerment from different items. The corresponding empowerment factor scores, along with demographic & socio-demographic characteristics were used as independent variables for further analysis in a multivariate model.

Results: Results show that education and decision making autonomy are significantly associated with the contraceptive use in northern states. The higher age-group of females was significantly less likely to go for institutional delivery in northern states whereas for the same age-group in southern India, almost 75% increase in adjusted odds of having institutional delivery. Women’s empowerment is significantly associated with place of delivery in northern India in contrast to southern.

Conclusion: Women need to be empowered in northern states of India for their better reproductive health whereas in southern India, may be due to better health care infrastructure, women’s empowerment doesn’t play a vital role in reproductive health care practises.

Keywords: NFHS-4, Institutional delivery, women empowerment, factor Analysis