|Effect of Women’s Empowerment on Reproductive and Child Health Services among South Asian Women
|Brajesh Sharma, Chander Shekhar, Mukesh Ranjan, and Himanshu Chaurasia
|Demography India, 46(2): 95-112
Health care utilization
Multiple Asian Countries
|This study shed light on women’s empowerment associated with increased utilization of reproductive and child health services in selected countries of South Asia. The research questions are explored through the use of bivariate and multivariate analyses based on nationally representative data from the Demographic and Health Survey of India, Nepal, and Bangladesh among married women aged 15-49 years. Proxy variables on different dimensions of women’s empowerment are used to obtained empowerment Index by principal component analysis and are tested for an association with the utilization of maternal and child health services by using logistic regression models with the STATA-14 statistical package. The study found a positive and significant association between women’s empowerment and utilization of RCH services in these all countries. The likelihood of women is highest to attend more antenatal care visits and postnatal care; visit institutions for delivery, take their children for immunization and use modern family planning methods with empowerment score those complete education, have wealth and media exposure as compared to those less educated, poorer and have no media. Couples in which both husband and wife made reproductive and child health decisions are the most likely to use these services followed by individual decision-makers. The findings suggest that use of maternal health care services is influenced by women’s roles in decision-making and the attitudes of women towards domestic violence, after controlling for some socio-economic and demographic factors which are organized at the individual, household, and community level. The study results suggest that policy actions that increase women’s empowerment at home could be effective in helping assure good maternal health.