Women's status is a multidimensional concept. A growing body of literature strongly suggests that gender inequality has a significant impact on the demographic transition and on the socio-economic development of countries. The aim of this paper is to investigate the relationships between fertility and women's autonomy in different cultural contexts. Data collected through three surveys conducted in Botswana, South Africa and Rajasthan are analysed. Women, aged 15-49, were interviewed to obtain information about their reproductive life histories and educational and work status. Regression models and causal log-linear models are applied to describe the role of different aspects of women's autonomy on fertility. The results of the analysis carried out show some similarities and also very large differences. In particular, the women of Rajasthan have less autonomy (in terms of women's status) than do the women of Botswana and South Africa.


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pp. 1-31
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