Women’s Autonomy and Children’s Schooling in Rural Mozambique

Luciana Luz, Arizona State University

Women’s autonomy in developing settings has been shown to improve child survival and health outcomes, but little research has addressed connections between women’s autonomy and children’s schooling. Using data from a 2009 survey conducted in southern Mozambique, we examine the relationship between women’s decision-making autonomy and enrollment status of primary school-age children living in their households. Results show a positive association of women’s decision-making autonomy with the probability of being enrolled for daughters, but not for sons. The effect of women’s decision-making autonomy is net of other characteristics associated with autonomy, and does not mediate other dimensions of women’s status. We argue that women with decision-making autonomy have a stronger preference for girl’s schooling, and may have a greater say in making and implementing decisions regarding daughter’s education. The decline in son preference may be a sign of women’s changing ideas about the role of daughters and the way they envision their future and returns for education.

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Presented in Session 194: Female Empowerment: Measurement