Impact of education and autonomy on fertility of women in eastern Uttar Pradesh.
Evidences from developing countries reveal several major points of interest concerning the direct relationship between woman education and fertility (Jejeebhoy, 1995). In most societies, there appears to be a threshold level of education beyond which marked differentials in fertility are generated. Within countries, similarly, the impact of women's education on fertility tends to be more consistently inverse in better developed regions or urban areas than in less developed or rural areas (Kritz and Gurak, 1991; Jensen and Khasakhala, 1992; Jain and Nag, 1986; Sather, 1992). Most multivariate studies argue that women's education exerts a strong negative effect on fertility even after control for household economic status. These findings are consistent with the idea that it is women's situation, knowledge and attitudes towards childbearing and children, rather than their socio-economic status that must strongly influence reproductive behaviour. Apart from all these, education also affects other determinants of fertility (Singh et al., 1990, 1993; Singh, 1990). Education is positively related to age at marriage and further it improves condition of infant and child survival, affects family size preferences and the structure of demand of child, and enhances contraceptive practices. Present study examines the relationship between education, woman autonomy and some other socio-cultural factors and their effects on fertility. Since the study is confined to a northern state of India, which is highly gender-stratified, socio-cultural factors like religion/caste are also taken into consideration. (excerpt)