Dimensions of Women Autonomy in Household Decision Making in Rural Punjab
30 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2018
Date Written: January 30, 2018
All round prosperity ushered in the state of Punjab (India) in mid sixties as a result of technological changes in the form of green revolution in the agricultural sector. The question that needs to be looked into is whether changes in technological and economic development in the state had positive effect on women’s status, welfare and empowerment. Statistics indicate that high gender disparities still persist in the state. The low sex ratios at birth (893 females to 1000 males) and in 0-6 age group (847 females to 1000 males) in the state are much less than the National average of 943 and 914 respectively as per 2011 census. There has been decline in Female Work Participation Rate (FWPR) in Punjab by 5.2% in 2011 from previous census of 2001. FWPR in Punjab was 13.9% in2011 as compared to 25.5% at the National level and 55.2% for male work participation in the state. The success of green revolution has pushed women who were important contributors back into household domai. To determine relative independent factors in determining women’s autonomy in household decision making, the analysis has been carried out with the objectives to examine the socio-economic indicators contributing to women’s autonomy and to study the status of women in rural Punjab.This study has been carried out in all the three differentiated soil zones of the state of Punjab representing the whole Punjab. These were South-Western Punjab,Central Punjab and eastern Punjab. A multistage stratified random sampling technique was used to select districts, blocks, villages and households from three soil zones of Punjab.Three districts were randomly selected from three soil zones and from these three districts two blocks from each each district was randomly selected.Thus in all 12 villages were selected from selected blocks. The list of cultivator households was set in ascending order of their operational area, cumulative frequency was obtained and distribution transformed to arrive at three different groups of farm sizes (small, medium and large farms). Women respondents (married) from these farm size groups and landless households were enlisted. The household sample included 25 randomly selected households per village making a total sample of 300 from three sample districts. These sample households were selected based on their proportion to the total number of households. Primary and secondary data were collected to achieve the objectives of the study. The secondary data were collected from Human Development Report (2013) of UNDP, Statistical Abstract of Punjab (2012), Economic survey of India and Punjab (2012-13), Census reports and various reports of the centre and state government.
For collection of the primary data, comprehensive survey of sample districts of Punjab was conducted for the year 2014. An especially prepared schedule was used to collect information for the various aspects like demographic profile of the respondents: household size, sex composition of children, age, education, husband’s education, number of children, type of family, marital status, marital duration, caste etc. and participation in household decision making by the respondents on various social and economic matters. For analyses of the sample data, different research methods were used.
For examining socio-economic profile of the sample respondents a simple tabulation technique was used to work out simple averages, ratios and percentages Multivariate logistic regression techniques were used to identify the factors determining women’s status in household decision making in socio-economic matters. Backward Step wise Multivariate Logistic Regression was estimated to identify key factors in determining women’s status in household socio-economic decision making.The study revealed that that decisions taken independently by the women are maximum among small farms and lowest for large farms. Decisions taken by husband and others are maximum for large farms and minimum for small farm categories. Women are involved little in making major economic decisions. District wise, it has been observed that respondents of Hoshiarpur are the most assertive in independent decisions followed by those in Amritsar and Bathinda are the least. This may be due to higher percentage of literacy in Hoshiarpur district and also due to the fact that some of the spouses of respondents are foreign based and sending money to their wives on regular basis for sustenance. In the absence of their spouses, women are free to assert their say in economic and social matters To conclude it can be inferred from the results of the logit analysis that age of the respondent, family structure, her control over household income, her personal or earned income and savings appear to influence almost all the aspects of women’s autonomy in household decision making. Growing age, nuclear family and full or partial control over income by the respondents contribute positively and very significantly to her status. Respondent’s income, savings, highest level of education (Coll/Univ) and her work status also affect decision outcomes and are explanatory factors partially contributing to her status.
Keywords: women, autonomy, small farms, larger farms
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