Women's Empowerment and Fertility Decision-Making in Africa: Does the Presence of Inlaws Make a Difference?

Tom O. Owuor, Pennsylvania State University
Bina Gubhaju, Pennsylvania State University

Earlier studies on fertility have revolved around the influence of extended family on couples fertility decision-making (Davis and Blake, 1956; Caldwell, 1987). In the last decade, the importance of women's empowerment and changes in the family on fertility has been recognized. Hollos and Larsen (1997) argue that nucleation of the family has empowered women and reduced the influence of other members of the family. Further, Dodoo (1998) found that within a nuclear family setting men still continue to have relative influence on women's reproductive decision-making. We argue another source of influence could be from the in-laws given marital contract in Sub-Saharan Africa still involves a wide alliance of in-laws despite nucleation. Yet the presence of in-laws have attracted limited attention. In this paper we use the 1995/96 Ugandan DHS to examine whether couple's fertility decision-making is conditioned by the presence of in-laws net of the usual women's empowerment indicators.

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Presented in Poster Session 6: Applied Demography, Methods, Migration, Labor and Education, Gender, and Race and Ethnicity