Understanding the Influence of Women’s Education on Their Autonomy: Evidence From a Less Developed Area in Pakistan
Keywords:Women's autonomy, women empowerment, education, Pakistani women
Women’s autonomy or ability to make decisions is determined by several factors, education is one of them. In this paper, we have checked the association of women’s education with their autonomy. We have considered how women’s education influences the decisions regarding their marriage, participation in family’s decisions, access to healthcare facilities and management of finances in the family. From a randomly selected cluster of neighbourhoods/muhallas in Jacobabad city, we purposively selected 391 married women from different households for testing four hypotheses. Results reveal that education played a positive role in the women’s lives by enhancing their participation in the family’s power distribution. Women with graduate level education performed better in the family’s power distribution than women with primary or secondary level education. The women with graduate level education were asked their consent for marriage, had more frequent participation in family’s decisions and visited healthcare facilities more often. However, these women also had limited control over the family’s finances, which shows that educated women too do not have complete autonomy in managing and controlling household finances, which can empower them and enhance their status in the family.