Women's autonomy, women's status and fertility-related behavior in Zimbabwe

Michelle J. Hindin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Women's household decision-making autonomy is a potentially important but less studied indicator of women's ability to control their fertility. Using a DHS sample of 3,701 married black African women from Zimbabwe, I look at women who have no say in major purchases, whether they should work outside the home and the number of children. When men dominated all household decisions, women were less likely to approve of contraceptive use, discuss their desired number of children with their spouse, report ever use of a modern method of contraception, and to intend to use contraception in the future. However, women's decision-making autonomy was not associated with current modern contraceptive use. Women who had no decision-making autonomy had 0.26 more children than women who had some autonomy. These autonomy measures provide additional independent explanatory power of fertility-related behavior net of traditional measures of women's status such as education and labor force participation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-282
Number of pages28
JournalPopulation Research and Policy Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000


  • Autonomy
  • Contraception
  • Fertility
  • Gender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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