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Can women's autonomy impede male involvement in pregnancy health in Katmandu, Nepal?


  • Mullany, Britta C.
  • Hindin, Michelle J.
  • Becker, Stan


Women's empowerment programs focus primarily on increasing the decision-making power of women, while male involvement/couple-friendly programs emphasize communication and negotiation within couples in making decisions. In-depth-interviews and focus group discussions were conducted to investigate patterns of household decision-making and the context of male involvement behaviors in Katmandu, Nepal. A questionnaire focusing on household decision-making and husbands' roles during pregnancy was administered to 592 pregnant women receiving antenatal services at a large maternity hospital. Multivariate regression techniques were used to compare male involvement behaviors across varying levels of women's autonomy, represented by different decision-making patterns. Higher women's autonomy, as measured by her sole final decision-making power, was associated with significantly lower male involvement in pregnancy health. After adjustment for other covariates, each additional decision in which a woman had final say was associated with a significantly lower likelihood of her husband accompanying her to antenatal care (OR=0.70, p

Suggested Citation

  • Mullany, Britta C. & Hindin, Michelle J. & Becker, Stan, 2005. "Can women's autonomy impede male involvement in pregnancy health in Katmandu, Nepal?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(9), pages 1993-2006, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:61:y:2005:i:9:p:1993-2006

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Shelah Bloom & David Wypij & Monica Gupta, 2001. "Dimensions of women’s autonomy and the influence on maternal health care utilization in a north indian city," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 38(1), pages 67-78, February.
    2. Jejeebhoy, Shireen J., 1995. "Women's Education, Autonomy, and Reproductive Behaviour: Experience from Developing Countries," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290339, June.
    3. Dudgeon, Matthew R. & Inhorn, Marcia C., 2004. "Men's influences on women's reproductive health: medical anthropological perspectives," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(7), pages 1379-1395, October.
    4. Carter, Marion, 2002. "Husbands and maternal health matters in rural Guatemala: wives' reports on their spouses' involvement in pregnancy and birth," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 437-450, August.
    5. Chen, Ying-Yeh & Subramanian, S. V. & Acevedo-Garcia, Doloros & Kawachi, Ichiro, 2005. "Women's status and depressive symptoms: A multilevel analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 49-60, January.
    6. Hindin, Michelle J. & Adair, Linda S., 2002. "Who's at risk? Factors associated with intimate partner violence in the Philippines," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1385-1399, October.
    7. Hindin, Michelle J., 2000. "Women's power and anthropometric status in Zimbabwe," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 51(10), pages 1517-1528, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mullany, Britta C., 2006. "Barriers to and attitudes towards promoting husbands' involvement in maternal health in Katmandu, Nepal," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(11), pages 2798-2809, June.
    2. Uddin, Jalal & Pulok, Mohammad Habibullah & Sabah, Md. Nasim-Us, 2015. "Couple’s reports of household decision-making, unmet need for contraception, and unintended pregnancy in Bangladesh," MPRA Paper 63757, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Ngo, Thi Minh-Phuong & Wahhaj, Zaki, 2012. "Microfinance and gender empowerment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 1-12.
    4. repec:eee:wdevel:v:96:y:2017:i:c:p:182-197 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Brunson, Jan, 2010. "Confronting maternal mortality, controlling birth in Nepal: The gendered politics of receiving biomedical care at birth," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(10), pages 1719-1727, November.
    6. Story, William T. & Burgard, Sarah A., 2012. "Couples’ reports of household decision-making and the utilization of maternal health services in Bangladesh," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(12), pages 2403-2411.
    7. Mahmud, Simeen & Shah, Nirali M. & Becker, Stan, 2012. "Measurement of Women’s Empowerment in Rural Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 610-619.
    8. Mumtaz, Zubia & Salway, Sarah, 2009. "Understanding gendered influences on women's reproductive health in Pakistan: Moving beyond the autonomy paradigm," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 1349-1356, April.
    9. Mistry, Ritesh & Galal, Osman & Lu, Michael, 2009. "Women's autonomy and pregnancy care in rural India: A contextual analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(6), pages 926-933, September.
    10. Lépine, Aurélia & Strobl, Eric, 2013. "The Effect of Women’s Bargaining Power on Child Nutrition in Rural Senegal," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 17-30.
    11. Thapa, Deependra Kaji & Niehof, Anke, 2013. "Women's autonomy and husbands' involvement in maternal health care in Nepal," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 1-10.


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