Advertisement

Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 255–282 | Cite as

Women's autonomy, women's status and fertility-related behavior in Zimbabwe

  • Michelle J. Hindin
Article

Abstract

Women's household decision-making autonomy is a potentially important but less studied indicator of women's ability to control their fertility. Using a DHS sample of 3,701 married black African women from Zimbabwe, I look at women who have no say in major purchases, whether they should work outside the home,and the number of children. When men dominated all household decisions, women were less likely to approve of contraceptive use, discuss their desired number of children with their spouse, report ever use of a modern method of contraception, and to intend to use contraception in the future. However, women's decision-making autonomy was not associated with current modern contraceptive use. Women who had no decision-making autonomy had 0.26 more children than women who had some autonomy. These autonomy measures provide additional independent explanatory power of fertility-related behavior net of traditional measures of women's status such as education and labor force participation.

Autonomy contraception gender fertility 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Balk, D. (1994), Individual and community aspects of women's status and fertility in rural Bangladesh, Population Studies 48(1): 21–45.Google Scholar
  2. Balk, D. (1997), Defying gender norms in rural Bangladesh: A social demographic analysis, Population Studies 51(2): 153–172.Google Scholar
  3. Basu, A.M. (1996), Girls' schooling, autonomy and fertility change: What do these words mean in South Asia?, pp. 48–71, in R. Jeffrey & A.M. Basu (eds.), Girls' schooling, women's autonomy, and fertility change in South East Asia. Thousand Oakes, CA: Sage Publications Inc.Google Scholar
  4. Bledsoe, C.H., Casterline, J.B., Johson-Kuhn, J.A. & Haaga, J. (1999), Critical perspectives on schooling and fertility in the developing world. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bledsoe, C.H., Johson-Kuhn, J.A. & Haaga, J. (1999), Introduction, pp. 1–23, in C.H. Bledsoe et al. (eds.) Critical perspectives on schooling and fertility in the developing world. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  6. Batezat, E. & Mwalo. M. (1989), Women in Zimbabwe. Harare, Zimbabwe: SAPES Trust.Google Scholar
  7. Barnett, B., Konaté, M., Mhloyi, M., Mutambirwa, J., Francis-Chizororo, M., Taruberekera, N. & Ulin, P. (1999), The impact of family planning on women's lives: Findings from the Women's Studies Project in Mali and Zimbabwe, African Journal of Reproductive Health 3(1): 27–38.Google Scholar
  8. Basu, A.M. (1996), Girls' schooling, autonomy and fertility change: What do these words mean in South Asia?, pp. 48–71 in R. Jeffrey & A.M. Basu (eds.), Girls' schooling, women's autonomy, and fertility change in South East Asia. Thousand Oakes, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  9. Bollen, K.A., Guilkey, D.K. & Mroz, T.A. (1995), Binary outcomes and endogenous explanatory variables: Tests and solutions with an application to the demand for contraceptive use in Tunisia, Demography 32(1): 111–129.Google Scholar
  10. Caldwell, B. (1996), Female education, autonomy and fertility in Sri Lanka, pp. 288–321 in R. Jeffrey and A.M. Basu (eds.) Girls' schooling, women's autonomy, and fertility change in South East Asia. Thousand Oakes, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  11. Central Statistical Office [Zimbabwe] and Macro International Inc. (1995), Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey, 1994. Calverton, MD: Central Statistical Office and Macro International Inc.Google Scholar
  12. Cleland, J., Kamal, N. & Sloggett, A. (1996), Links between fertility regulation and the schooling and autonomy of women in Bangladesh, pp. 205–217 in R. Jeffrey & A.M. Basu (eds.), Girls' schooling, women's autonomy, and fertility change in South East Asia. Thousand Oakes, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  13. Gage, A.J. (1995), Women's socioeconomic position and contraceptive behavior in Togo, Studies in Family Planning 26: 264–277.Google Scholar
  14. Guilkey, D.K. and Jayne, S. (1997), Fertility transition in Zimbabwe: Determinants of contraceptive use and method choice, Population Studies 51(6): 173–189.Google Scholar
  15. Gwako, E.L.M. (1997), Conjugal power in rural Kenyan families: Its influence on women's decisions about family size and family planning practices, Sex Roles 36(3–4): 127–147.Google Scholar
  16. Hindin, M.J. (1998), Household Power Imbalances: The Health Consequences forWomen and Children in Zimbabwe. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation.Google Scholar
  17. Hindin, M.J., Kincaid, D.L., Kumah, O.M., Morgan, W., Kim, Y.M. & Ofori, J.K. (1994), Gender differences in media exposure and action during a family planning campaign in Ghana, Health Communication 6(2): 117–136.Google Scholar
  18. Hof, C. & Richters, A. (1995), Exploring intersections between teenage pregnancy and gender violence: Lessons from Zimbabwe, African Journal of Reproductive Health 3(1): 51–65.Google Scholar
  19. Jeffery, R. & Basu, A.M. (1996), Schooling as contraception, pp. 15–47 in R. Jeffrey and A.M. Basu (eds.) Girls' schooling, women's autonomy, and fertility change in South East Asia. Thousand Oakes, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  20. Jejeebhoy, S.J. (1995), Women's education, autonomy, and reproductive behavioural experiences from developing countries. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  21. Lee, K., Lush, L. Walt, G. & Cleland, J. (1998), Family planning policies and programmes in eight low-income countries: A comparative policy analysis, Social Science and Medicine 47(7): 949–959.Google Scholar
  22. Mahmud, S. & Johnston, A.M. (1995), Women's status, empowerment, and reproductive outcomes, pp. 151–159 in G. Sen A. Germain & L.C. Chen (eds.), Population Policies Reconsidered. Boston: Harvard University PressGoogle Scholar
  23. Malhotra, A. & Mather, M. (1997), Do schooling and work empower women in developing countries? Gender and domestic decisions in Sri Lanka, Sociological Forum 12(4): 599–630.Google Scholar
  24. Martín, T.C. (1995), Women's education and fertility: Results from the Demographic and Health Surveys, Studies in Family Planning 26(4): 187–202.Google Scholar
  25. Mason, K.O. (1987), The impact of women's social position on fertility in developing countries, Sociological Forum 2(4): 718–745.Google Scholar
  26. Mason, K.O. (1984), The Status of Women: A Review of Its Relationship to Fertility and Mortality. New York: The Rockefeller Press.Google Scholar
  27. Morgan, S.P. & Niraula, N.B. (1995), Gender inequality and fertility in two Nepali villages, Population and Development Review 21(3): 541–561.Google Scholar
  28. Njovana, E. & Watts, C. (1996), Gender violence in Zimbabwe: A need for collaborative action, Reproductive Health Matters 7: 46–53.Google Scholar
  29. Piotrow, P.T., Kincaid, D.L., Hindin, M.J., Lettenmaier, C.L., Kuseka, I., Silberman, T., Zinanga, A., Chikara, F., Adamchak, D.J., Mbizvo, M., Lynn, W., Kumah, O.M. & Kim, Y.M. (1992), Changing men's attitudes and behavior: The Zimbabwe Male Motivation Project, Studies in Family Planning 23(6): 365–375.Google Scholar
  30. Riley, N.E. (1997), Gender, power and population change, Population Bulletin 52(1). Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau.Google Scholar
  31. Safilos-Rothschild, C. (1982), Female power, autonomy, and demographic change in the Third World, pp. 117–132 in R. Anker, M. Buvinic & N. Youssef, Women's roles and population trends in the Third World. London: Croom-Helm.Google Scholar
  32. Sathar, Z.A. (1996), Women's schooling and autonomy as factors in fertility change in Pakistan: Some empirical evidence, pp. 133–149 in R. Jeffrey & A.M. Basu (eds.), Girls' schooling, women's autonomy, and fertility change in South East Asia. Thousand Oakes, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  33. Schmidt, E. (1992), Peasants, traders, and wives: Shona women in the history of Zimbabwe, 1970–1939. Portsmouth, NH: Heinman.Google Scholar
  34. Schuler, S.R., Hashemi, S.M. & Riley, A.P. (1997), The influence of women's changing roles and status in Bangladesh's fertility transition: Evidence from a study of credit programs and contraceptive use, World Development 25(4): 563–.Google Scholar
  35. Seidman, G. (1984), Women in Zimbabwe: Postindependence struggles, Feminist Studies 10: 419–440.Google Scholar
  36. United Nations (1995), Women's Education and Fertility Behavior. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
  37. Van de Walle, F. & Van de Walle, E. (1993), Urban women's autonomy and natural fertility in the Sahel region of Africa., pp. 61–79 in N. Federici, K.O. Mason & S. Sogner (eds.), Women's Position and Demographic Change. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  38. Visaria, L. (1996), Regional variations in female autonomy and fertility in India, pp. 235–269 in R. Jeffrey & A.M. Basu (eds.), Girls' Schooling, Women's Autonomy, and Fertility Change in South East Asia. Thousand Oakes, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  39. Vlassoff, C. (1996), Against the odds: The changing impact of schooling on female autonomy and fertility in an Indian village, pp. 218–234 in R. Jeffrey & A.M. Basu (eds.), Girls' schooling, women's autonomy, and fertility change in South East Asia. Thousand Oakes, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  40. Watts, C., Keogh, E., Ndlovu, M. & Kwaramba, R. (1998), Withholding of sex and forced sex: Dimensions of violence against Zimbabwean women, Reproductive Health Matters 6(12): 57–65.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle J. Hindin
    • 1
  1. 1.Carolina Population CenterUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

Personalised recommendations