Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 988–998 | Cite as

Women’s Autonomy and Maternal Health-Seeking Behavior in Ethiopia

  • Gebremariam WoldemicaelEmail author
  • Eric Y. Tenkorang


This paper examines the net effect of women’s autonomy on their health seeking behavior in Ethiopia. We hypothesize that women with higher autonomy are more likely to seek health care during pregnancy and delivery than those with lower autonomy. The paper also examines whether the autonomy-health utilization relationship is influenced by individual (education, work status, religion) and, household (wealth and rural–urban residence) level factors, all of which are important for both autonomy and health-care utilization. Results indicate that women’s autonomy remains significant even after adjusting for other individual and household variables. Besides autonomy, our results highlight other individual and household level influences on the health seeking behaviors of women in Ethiopia. Results also demonstrate the need to look beyond individual level factors when examining the health seeking behaviors of women in Ethiopia. The statistical significance of some individual-level measures, such as education means it cannot be used as proxy for women’s autonomy. This calls for policy makers not only to empower women, but also provide them with better formal education.


Ethiopia Women’s autonomy Health-seeking behaviors Hierarchical logit models Household factors 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology, Population Studies CentreThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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