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Women's Autonomy in India and Pakistan: The Influence of Religion and Region

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  • Shireen J. Jejeebhoy
  • Zeba A. Sathar
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    Abstract

    This article compares the lives of women and explores dimensions of their autonomy in different regions of South Asia-Punjab in Pakistan, and Uttar Pradesh in north India and Tamil Nadu in south India. It explores the contextual factors underlying observed differences and assesses the extent to which these differences could be attributed to religion, nationality, or north-south cultural distinctions. Findings suggest that while women's autonomy-in terms of decision-making, mobility, freedom from threatening relations with husband, and access to and control over economic resources-is constrained in all three settings, women in Tamil Nadu fare considerably better than other women, irrespective of religion. Findings lend little support to the suggestion that women in Pakistan have less autonomy or control over their lives than do Indian women. Nor do Muslim women-be they Indian or Pakistani-exercise less autonomy in their own lives than do Hindu women in the subcontinent. Rather, findings suggest that in the patriarchal and gender-stratified structures governing the northern portion of the subcontinent, women's control over their lives is more constrained than in the southern region. Copyright 2001 by The Population Council, Inc..

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by The Population Council, Inc. in its journal Population and Development Review.

    Volume (Year): 27 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 687-712

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:27:y:2001:i:4:p:687-712

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    Cited by:
    1. World Bank, 2005. "Pakistan : Country Gender Assessment, Bridging the Gender Gap, Opportunities and Challenges," World Bank Other Operational Studies 8453, The World Bank.
    2. Sofia Karina Trommlerová & Stephan Klasen & Ortrud Lessmann, 2013. "Determinants of Empowerment in a Capability Based Poverty Approach: Evidence from The Gambia," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 147, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    3. Sundaram, Aparna & Vanneman, Reeve, 2008. "Gender Differentials in Literacy in India: The Intriguing Relationship with Women's Labor Force Participation," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 128-143, January.
    4. Magnan, Nicholas & Spielman, David J. & Gulati, Kajal, 2013. "Female social networks and learning about a new technology in eastern Uttar Pradesh, India," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150688, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    5. Pushkar Maitra & Sarmistha Pal, 2004. "Birth Spacing and Child Survival: Comparative Evidence from India and Pakistan," Labor and Demography 0403023, EconWPA.
    6. Khan, Safdar Ullah & Awan, Rabia, 2011. "Contextual Assessment of Women Empowerment and Its Determinants: Evidence from Pakistan," MPRA Paper 30820, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Anindita Chakrabarti, 2011. "Determinants of Child Morbidity and Factors Governing Utilisation of Child Health Care: Evidence from Rural India," Working Papers 2011-063, Madras School of Economics,Chennai,India.
    8. Vikram, Kriti & Vanneman, Reeve & Desai, Sonalde, 2012. "Linkages between maternal education and childhood immunization in India," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 331-339.
    9. FFF1Enid NNN1Schatz, 2003. "Comparing, Contextualizing, and Conceptualizing," Demographic Research Special Collections, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 1(5), pages 143-174, September.
    10. Øystein Kravdal, 2012. "Further evidence of community education effects on fertility in sub-Saharan Africa," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 27(22), pages 645-680, November.
    11. Samantha Watson, 2012. "Formalizing the Informal Economy: Women’s Autonomous Self-Employment in Rural South India," Working Papers id:4784, eSocialSciences.
    12. Smith, Stephanie L., 2014. "Political contexts and maternal health policy: Insights from a comparison of south Indian states," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 46-53.
    13. Sen, Gita & Iyer, Aditi, 2012. "Who gains, who loses and how: Leveraging gender and class intersections to secure health entitlements," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(11), pages 1802-1811.
    14. Anindita Chakrabarti, 2012. "Determinants of Child Morbidity and Factors Governing Utilisation of Child Health Care: Evidence from Rural India," Working Papers id:5024, eSocialSciences.

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