Endogenous Women's Autonomy and the Use of Reproductive Health Services: Empirical Evidence from Tajikistan
Though gender equity is widely considered to be a key to improving maternal health in developing countries, little empirical evidence has been presented to support this claim. This paper investigates whether or not and how female autonomy within the household affects women's use of reproductive health care in Tajikistan, where the situation of maternal health and gender equity is worse compared with neighbouring countries. Estimation is performed using bivariate probit models in which woman's use of health services and the level of female autonomy are recursively and simultaneously determined. Empirical results reveal that female autonomy measured by women's decision-making on child wellbeing and on economic affairs within the household increases the probability of receiving both antenatal and delivery care. Policymakers need to address women's empowerment in the household in addition to implementing direct health interventions towards improvement of maternal health.
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