Effects of the status of women on the first-birth interval in Indian urban society.
The status of women, which is relative and multidimensional, has an important bearing on any long-term reduction in fertility. In Indian society, where cohabitation and childbearing are socially sanctioned only after marriage, the length of the first-birth interval affects the completed family size by influencing the spacing and childbearing pattern of a family. This study examines the influence of certain aspects of the status of married women--education, employment, role in family decision making, and age at marriage--along with three socioeconomic variables--per capita income of the family, social position of the household, and the caste system--on the duration of the first-birth interval in an urban Hindu society of the north-east Indian state of Assam. The data were analysed by applying life table and hazard regression techniques. The results indicate that a female's age at marriage, education, current age, role in decision making, and the per capita income of the household are the main covariates that strongly influence the length of the first-birth interval of Hindu females of urban Assam. Of all the covariates studied, a female's education appears to be a key mediating factor, through its influence on her probability of employment outside the home and thereby an earned income and on her role in family decision making. Unlike other Indian communities, the effect of the caste system does not have a significant effect on first-birth timing in this urban Hindu society.
Nath, DC; Land, KC; Goswami, G
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