In this article, we examine the influence of education on the exercise of married women’s reproductive autonomy. We carried out 34 in-depth interviews (IDIs) with purposively sampled married Ikwerre women in Rivers State, Nigeria. The participants were between the ages of 22 and 60, had different educational backgrounds, and were in monogamous and polygynous marriages. Data were analyzed using MAXQDA 11 software. We found that although formal education enhanced women’s ability to exercise reproductive autonomy, the culture of demanding absolute respect for men remains a major barrier. Formal education provides women with the knowledge that they need in order to access adequate health services for themselves and their children. Participants also believed that educating men was critical for the exercise of women’s reproductive autonomy. The cultural aspects that promote female subordination and patriarchy should be addressed more openly in Nigeria.


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pp. 231-244
Launched on MUSE
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