Status of women and family planning: the Indian case

K E Vaidyanathan
1989 Asia-Pacific Population Journal  
This article examines the extent to which the status of women is related to awareness, knowledge, and practice of family planning in India. It uses both macro-level data for the states of India and date from household surveys and field studies to assess the extent of interaction between the women's status indicators and family planning indicators. Results show a definite statistical relationship between women's status and women's ability to control fertility. The strongest relationship to
more » ... on of family planning is the educational attainment of women, followed by age at marriage, and women's work participation, particularly in nonagricultural activities. Evidence from various surveys on the effects of crucial variables on reproductive behavior include 1) a marked reduction in fertility with increases in the educational level; 2) lower fertility for working women, and especially for non-manual workers; 3) a reduction in fertility with increases in age at marriage; and 4) a higher percentage of couples practicing family planning who have 2 or more surviving children, particularly if they have boys. A 1972 survey of 3 Indian states showed that 1) husbands impose a variety of restrictions on wives, with rural husbands placing more restrictions than urban husbands; 2) women's role in decision making in household affairs is positively correlated with the degree of awareness and knowledge of contraceptives as well as adoption of family planning; and 3) interspousal communication was significantly related to the practice of family planning in both rural and urban areas. In conclusion, to help encourage adoption of family planning and reduce fertility, India should 1) emphasize education for women, 2) enforce the legal minimum age at marriage, 3) promote employment opportunities for women, 4) improve women's role in decision making, and 5) encourage interspousal communication in family affairs.
pmid:12316023 fatcat:ueo233dxzfcvrhkeaxqhgnkpwm