WOMEN’S AGENCY FREEDOMS AND EDUCATION LEVELS IN THE POST-MARITAL HOUSEHOLD: EVIDENCE FROM RURAL INDIA
Keywords:Women, Agency freedom, Education, probit model
The importance of women‟s agency towards the nation and its children‟s wellbeing has been well established in literature. While studies have looked at the relationship between freedoms of women and education levels of her and her family members, the literature is limited and lacks substantial rigorous evidence. Using a nationally representative dataset we investigate agency freedoms outside the household- whether allowed to work, membership in a social group, and mobility- of women in rural India. Apart from the socioeconomic characteristics at the individual and household level, we also incorporate for social customs, bargaining power, and women‟s agency prior to her marriage. Using standard regression techniques we find that women who have more educated parents enjoy greater agency freedom across our three outcome variables. The education levels of her in-laws and her husband have little association with her freedoms, however women living with their in-laws are found to be less likely to enjoy agency freedoms. These results might have implications for when and in what aspects of a woman‟s life, policies that encourage gender equality should be targeted. Incorporating such nuances might help in better design and implementation of existing policies aiming to empower women in rural India.
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