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 Abstract
 The right to determine the number...
 Education
 Employment
 Marriage and the family
 Participation of women in public...
 The status of women and demographic...
 Reference














Group Title: Reports on population/family planning
Title: Women's rights and fertility
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00088770/00001
 Material Information
Title: Women's rights and fertility
Series Title: Reports on populationfamily planning
Physical Description: 20 p. : ; 29 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Dixon, Ruth Bronson
Population Council
Publisher: Population Council
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: 1975
Edition: Rev.
 Subjects
Subject: Women's rights   ( lcsh )
Birth control   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Bibliography: p. 18-20.
Statement of Responsibility: Ruth B. Dixon.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: Originally written as background document for 1974 World Population Conference in Bucharest.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00088770
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01810997

Table of Contents
    Abstract
        Page 1
        Page 2
    The right to determine the number and spacing of one's children
        Page 3
    Education
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Employment
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Marriage and the family
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Participation of women in public life and decision-making
        Page 17
    The status of women and demographic changes
        Page 17
        Page 18
    Reference
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
Full Text




Re )orts on


ao) f-iaYl l o Famrily PhLnni Tng

Number 17 January 1975

A PUBLICATION OF THE POPULATION COUNCIL, 245 PARK AVENUE, NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10017, U.S.A.









Women's Rights and Fertility

RUTH B. DIXON





ABSTRACT The status of women in the areas of education, employment,
the family, and public life can be considered as both a determinant and a
consequence of variations in the timing and number of marriages and
births. Evidence from a number of countries suggests that a compelling
argument can be made for the existence, under specified conditions, of a
strong relationship between the exercise of women's rights in private and
public life, on the one hand, and their reproductive behavior, on the other.
The current and potential impact of women's status on fertility is increas-
ingly attracting the attention of demographers and policy planners con-
cerned with reducing runaway population growth rates. The importance of
birth planning in facilitating the exercise of the human rights of women
as individuals, regardless of its demographic consequences, is as yet less
fully acknowledged or understood.


THE AUTHOR is assistant professor, Department of Sociology, University
of California, Davis.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This paper was written in 1973 as a background
document for the 1974 World Population Conference in Bucharest, while the
author was employed as consultant to the United Nations Branch for the
Promotion of Equality of Men and Women. It appears here in slightly
revised form. The material is drawn from a more extensive Report of the
Special Rapporteur on the Status of Women and Family Planning to be
issued by the United Nations during International Women's Year in 1975.
The author is deeply indebted to Margaret K. Bruce, chief of the Branch
for the Promotion of Equality of Men and Women, and to Helvi Sipila,
assistant secretary-general for Social and Humanitarian Affairs and special
rapporteur of the Report, for the tremendous efforts they expended on the
study and for their continued enthusiasm and support.


THE POPULATION COUNCIL. INC.. 1975










































THE UNITED NATIONS, in its Charter and in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, has proclaimed its faith
in the dignity and worth of the human person and in
the equal rights of men and women. All member states
have pledged themselves toward this end. More recent
declarations and numerous resolutions have called for
equality between men and women in all areas of law,
political life, education, employment, marriage, and the
family (UN Economic and Social Council, 1972). Mov-
ing beyond the concept of legal status alone, the Decla-
ration on the Elimination of Discrimination Against
Women, for example, demands the eradication of preju-
dice against women and the abolition of all customs,
regulations, and practices in daily life that are based
on the idea of the inferiority of women or that serve to
discriminate against them (United Nations, 1973, p.
39, Articles 2-3).
These comprehensive goals are relevant not only
to the expansion and protection of basic human rights
but also to the analysis of the association between vari-
ous aspects of the status of women and demographic
patterns of fertility, mortality, and migration. Fertility
and the social processes associated with it are of spe-
cial importance in this regard. The status of women
may be seen as both a determinant and a consequence


of variations in reproductive behavior. A woman's
health, educational opportunities, employment, political
rights, and role in marriage and the family may all
affect and, in turn, be affected by the timing and num-
ber of her children and her knowledge of how to plan
births. The impact of birth planning on the individual
woman's potential for personal autonomy and for par-
ticipation in all sectors of society--that is, the human
rights aspect of the relationship-is clearly as impor-
tant as the impact on fertility of improvements in her
status, which may be of greater interest from the demo-
graphic point of view.
In this paper, the status of women in public and
private life is measured primarily by the number of
years of their schooling, their representation in the paid
labor force as shown in censuses and surveys, their
integration in major areas of political decision-making,
and their age at marriage and rights and obligations
within the family, insofar as these can be determined.
These indicators are imperfect, however, especially in
the area of employment, where labor force statistics
often exclude large numbers of female agricultural
laborers or other unpaid workers who nevertheless par-
ticipate actively in the process of production or provide
essential services upon which production depends.


CONTENTS




The Right to Determine the Number and Spacing of One's Children 3

Education 3
Women's Rights and Current Reality 3
Relationship Between Female Education and Fertility 5

Employment 8
Women's Rights and Current Reality 8
Relationship Between Female Employment and Fertility 9

Marriage and the Family 13
Women's Rights on Entering Marriage 13
Women's Rights During Marriage 15
Women's Rights at the Dissolution of Marriage 16

Participation of Women in Public Life and Decision-Making 17

The Status of Women and Demographic Changes 17

References 18






THE RIGHT TO DETERMINE THE NUMBER
AND SPACING OF ONE'S CHILDREN
In 1966, the United Nations proclaimed for the first
time that "the size of the family should be the free
choice of each individual family" (General Assembly
resolution 2211 [XXI]). The International Conference
on Human Rights, held in Teheran in 1968, declared
more broadly that couples have a basic human right to
decide freely and responsibly on the number and spac-
ing of their children and a right to adequate education
and information about birth planning (resolution
XVIII). By 1969, the concept had evolved to include
the right to the means to space and limit births (Gen-
eral Assembly resolution 2542 [XXIV], Article 22).
Presumably, it will continue to evolve as individual and
family rights in this area are further elaborated.
A number of legal, economic, social, and cultural
factors, however, constrain women from fully exercis-
ing their abstractly defined right to plan births. Such
constraints include, for example, legislative restrictions
on access to relevant education, information, advice,
and services (UN Department of Economic and Social
Affairs, 1972; World Health Organization, 1971; Lee
and Larson, 1971); inadequate family planning pro-
grams that leave many women-especially poor and
rural women-without knowledge of the possibility or
the means to regulate fertility safely and effectively
(International Planned Parenthood Federation, 1972;
Nortman, 1972); cultural definitions of a woman's
primary role as a sexual partner, homemaker, and
breeder of children rather than as a full participant in
the social and economic life of her community; lack of
alternative roles for women outside the home; and
patterns of male dominance within the family, includ-
ing hostility to the use of female contraceptive methods
and to the independent rights of the woman.

What is the impact on the individual woman of
her ability to plan births? Certainly the knowledge
alone of the possibility and means of doing so gives
women the power to shape their lives in ways un-
dreamed of by those who have never questioned the
inevitability of their childbearing or who have resorted
in desperation to cumbersome, ineffective, and often
dangerous methods to stop unwanted births. Birth
planning in this respect is an essential ingredient of
physical and mental health (World Health Organiza-
tion, 1970; International Planned Parenthood Federa-
tion, 1970; Omran, 1971) and human dignity. And
when the power to space and limit pregnancies is trans-
lated into an actual decision to do so, the impact on
women's status may be dramatic. Each aspect of birth
planning-the ability to delay the first birth, space
births several years apart, stop childbearing earlier in
the life cycle, and limit the total number of births (or
have no children)-may be examined separately for its
effect on a woman's health, the health of her children,
and the exercise of her economic, social, and political
rights in the society and in the family.


EDUCATION
Women's Rights and Current Reality
According to the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, everyone has the right to an education (United
Nations, 1973, p. 3, Article 26). The Declaration on
the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women,
among other documents, affirms that girls and women,
married or unmarried, have equal rights with men in
education at all levels, which includes study in educa-
tional institutions of all types, the same choice of cur-
riculums, and equal access to scholarships and other
financial support (United Nations, 1973, p. 40, Arti-
cle 9).
Equal education has proved to be an elusive goal,
however, even in countries where equality under the
law is guaranteed. Illiteracy rates in most countries are
much higher among women than among men (see
Table 1), although the situation is improving. On the
average, in countries for which information was avail.
able for the 1960s or early 1970s, females aged 15 and
over were around 54 percent as likely as males to be
literate in Africa, 58 percent in Asia, 94 percent in the
Americas, 97 percent in Oceania, and 88 percent in
Europe. Sex differentials in literacy were somewhat
lower among the 15-19-year-olds than among the popu-
lation at large.
Females are less than half of the school population
in most countries, and the proportion of females de-
clines rapidly at the highest levels of training. In 1960-
1970, among countries listed in Table 2, females aged
5-14 were, on the average, approximately 79 percent
as likely as males the same age to be enrolled in school
in Africa, 79 percent in Asia, 100 percent in the Amer-
icas, and 98 percent in Europe. But by ages 20-24, the
ratio of female to male enrollment rates was only 15
percent in Africa, 44 percent in Asia, 65 percent in the
Americas, and 57 percent in Europe.
Within educational institutions certain fields of
study are often strongly typed as appropriate for fe-
males or males only, although the degree of sex-typing
varies considerably across countries. In many coun-
tries, and particularly in rural areas, the underrepre-
sentation of girls and women in schools is compounded
by an overall scarcity of schools and teachers that
places females at an even greater disadvantage relative
to males in the competition for access to these educa-
tional resources. Decisions within both the educational
institution and the family may be especially likely to
favor schooling for males over females when there is
insufficient room for all. However, females in most
countries of Latin America included in Table 2 were
far less disadvantaged relative to males than were fe-
males in most countries of Asia and Africa where rates
of male school enrollment were similar to those in the
Latin American countries, but rates of female enroll-
ment were much lower. This suggests that the discrimi-
nation factor operates more intensely in parts of Asia
and Africa than in Latin America even where schools
and teachers are equally scarce.






THE RIGHT TO DETERMINE THE NUMBER
AND SPACING OF ONE'S CHILDREN
In 1966, the United Nations proclaimed for the first
time that "the size of the family should be the free
choice of each individual family" (General Assembly
resolution 2211 [XXI]). The International Conference
on Human Rights, held in Teheran in 1968, declared
more broadly that couples have a basic human right to
decide freely and responsibly on the number and spac-
ing of their children and a right to adequate education
and information about birth planning (resolution
XVIII). By 1969, the concept had evolved to include
the right to the means to space and limit births (Gen-
eral Assembly resolution 2542 [XXIV], Article 22).
Presumably, it will continue to evolve as individual and
family rights in this area are further elaborated.
A number of legal, economic, social, and cultural
factors, however, constrain women from fully exercis-
ing their abstractly defined right to plan births. Such
constraints include, for example, legislative restrictions
on access to relevant education, information, advice,
and services (UN Department of Economic and Social
Affairs, 1972; World Health Organization, 1971; Lee
and Larson, 1971); inadequate family planning pro-
grams that leave many women-especially poor and
rural women-without knowledge of the possibility or
the means to regulate fertility safely and effectively
(International Planned Parenthood Federation, 1972;
Nortman, 1972); cultural definitions of a woman's
primary role as a sexual partner, homemaker, and
breeder of children rather than as a full participant in
the social and economic life of her community; lack of
alternative roles for women outside the home; and
patterns of male dominance within the family, includ-
ing hostility to the use of female contraceptive methods
and to the independent rights of the woman.

What is the impact on the individual woman of
her ability to plan births? Certainly the knowledge
alone of the possibility and means of doing so gives
women the power to shape their lives in ways un-
dreamed of by those who have never questioned the
inevitability of their childbearing or who have resorted
in desperation to cumbersome, ineffective, and often
dangerous methods to stop unwanted births. Birth
planning in this respect is an essential ingredient of
physical and mental health (World Health Organiza-
tion, 1970; International Planned Parenthood Federa-
tion, 1970; Omran, 1971) and human dignity. And
when the power to space and limit pregnancies is trans-
lated into an actual decision to do so, the impact on
women's status may be dramatic. Each aspect of birth
planning-the ability to delay the first birth, space
births several years apart, stop childbearing earlier in
the life cycle, and limit the total number of births (or
have no children)-may be examined separately for its
effect on a woman's health, the health of her children,
and the exercise of her economic, social, and political
rights in the society and in the family.


EDUCATION
Women's Rights and Current Reality
According to the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, everyone has the right to an education (United
Nations, 1973, p. 3, Article 26). The Declaration on
the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women,
among other documents, affirms that girls and women,
married or unmarried, have equal rights with men in
education at all levels, which includes study in educa-
tional institutions of all types, the same choice of cur-
riculums, and equal access to scholarships and other
financial support (United Nations, 1973, p. 40, Arti-
cle 9).
Equal education has proved to be an elusive goal,
however, even in countries where equality under the
law is guaranteed. Illiteracy rates in most countries are
much higher among women than among men (see
Table 1), although the situation is improving. On the
average, in countries for which information was avail.
able for the 1960s or early 1970s, females aged 15 and
over were around 54 percent as likely as males to be
literate in Africa, 58 percent in Asia, 94 percent in the
Americas, 97 percent in Oceania, and 88 percent in
Europe. Sex differentials in literacy were somewhat
lower among the 15-19-year-olds than among the popu-
lation at large.
Females are less than half of the school population
in most countries, and the proportion of females de-
clines rapidly at the highest levels of training. In 1960-
1970, among countries listed in Table 2, females aged
5-14 were, on the average, approximately 79 percent
as likely as males the same age to be enrolled in school
in Africa, 79 percent in Asia, 100 percent in the Amer-
icas, and 98 percent in Europe. But by ages 20-24, the
ratio of female to male enrollment rates was only 15
percent in Africa, 44 percent in Asia, 65 percent in the
Americas, and 57 percent in Europe.
Within educational institutions certain fields of
study are often strongly typed as appropriate for fe-
males or males only, although the degree of sex-typing
varies considerably across countries. In many coun-
tries, and particularly in rural areas, the underrepre-
sentation of girls and women in schools is compounded
by an overall scarcity of schools and teachers that
places females at an even greater disadvantage relative
to males in the competition for access to these educa-
tional resources. Decisions within both the educational
institution and the family may be especially likely to
favor schooling for males over females when there is
insufficient room for all. However, females in most
countries of Latin America included in Table 2 were
far less disadvantaged relative to males than were fe-
males in most countries of Asia and Africa where rates
of male school enrollment were similar to those in the
Latin American countries, but rates of female enroll-
ment were much lower. This suggests that the discrimi-
nation factor operates more intensely in parts of Asia
and Africa than in Latin America even where schools
and teachers are equally scarce.





TABLE 1 Percentage of males and females who are literate and ratio of female to male literacy rates by age,
by country and year, 1960-1970

Ages 15 and over Ages 15-19

Ratio female Ratio female
Country Year Male Female to male Male Female to male
Africa" 38.6 21.0 0.54 57.7 38.4 0.66
Lesotho 1966 44.0 67.7 1.54 52.7 89.9 1.70
Reunion 1967 59.7 65.2 1.09 81.9 88.9 1.08
Mauritius 1962 72.5 50.6 0.70 84.0" 70.6b 0.84
Zambia 1969 61.4 34.6 0.56 85.0 70.9 0.83
United Republic of Tanzania
Tanganika 1967 42.3 14.8 0.35 62.5 35.5 0.57
Zanzibar 1967 52.8 18.4 0.35 74.1 46.7 0.63
Arab Republic of Egypt 1960 40.5 12.4 0.31 36.4 18.1 0.50
Malawic 1966 33.7 12.2 0.36 50.8 28.5 0.56
Tunisia 1966 37.1 10.6 0.28 70.6 34.6 0.49
Algeria 1966 29.8 7.9 0.26 54.5 23.8 0.44
Morocco 1960 21.9 6.0 0.27 32.8 14.0 0.43
Gabon 1960-1961 22.2 4.8 0.22 67.0 27.2 0.40
Liberia 1962 13.9 4.2 0.30 24.3 8.4 0.34
Libyan Arab Republic 1964 37.3 4.1 0.11 68.7 15.3 0.22
Senegale 1960-1961 10.4 1.1 0.10 20.2 4.3 0.21


Asia 57.0 33.1 0.58 69.8 50.8 0.73
Philippines 1970 84.6e 82.2e 0.97 u u u
Israel 1961 90.5f 77.7f 0.86 96.59 91.1" 0.94
Cyprus 1960 88.2 64.4 0.73 98.5 97.0 0.98
Sri Lanka 1963 85.6 64.1 0.75 90.2 82.0 0.91
Republic of Korea 1960 83.4 58.2 0.70 94.4" 85.3h 0.90
Thailand 1960 79.3 56.1 0.71 91.0 85.8 0.94
Hong Kong 1961 90.2 51.9 0.58 93.8 87.6 0.93
Kuwait 1970 63.4 41.9 0.66 78.2 64.3 0.82
Indonesia 1961 57.2 29.6 0.52 76.6 59.0 0.77
Bahrain 1971 49.2 28.5 0.58 84.5 61.3 0.72
Turkey 1965 64.5 27.4 0.42 80.4 51.5 0.64
Syrian Arab Republic' 1960 54.5" 16.8e 0.31 u u u
Jordan 1961 50.1 15.2 0.30 75.0 34.0 0.45
India 1961 41.5 13.2 0.32 52.0 23.8 0.46
Iraq 1965 35.6 12.8 0.36 64.9 26.8 0.41
Iran' 1966 32.8 12.2 0.37 56.0 27.8 0.50
Malaysia
Sabah 1960 34.4 11.5 0.33 49.4 24.9 0.50
Sarawak 1960 30.9 12.1 0.39 50.9 27.1 0.53
United Arab Emirates 1968 27.0 8.9 0.33 34.5j 16.2J 0.47
Pakistan 1961 28.9 7.4 0.26 37.5 13.4 0.36
Sikkim 1961 26.0 4.0 0.15 23.5 6.6 0.28


Americas" 77.0 72.2 0.94 83.1 83.0 1.00
Bermuda 1960 97.3 98.8 1.02 98.6 99.5 1.01
Uruguay 1963 90.1 90.5 1.00 97.1 98.2 1.01
Argentina 1960 92.5f 90.3/ 0.98 u u u
Bahamas 1963 90.1 89.4 0.99 96.4 97.2 1.01
Martinique 1967 87.4 88.1 1.01 98.1 99.0 1.01
Antigua 1960 89.6 88.0 0.98 97.1 98.9 1.02
Chile 1970 89.0 87.3 0.98 95.6 96.2 1.01
British Honduras 1960 87.5 85.7 0.98 95.0 94.3 0.99
Jamaica 1960 78.6 84.8 1.08 86.3 94.5 1.10
Costa Rica 1963 84.7 84.0 0.99 90.8 91.9 1.01
Guadeloupe 1967 83.6 82.9 0.99 96.3 97.9 1.02
Puerto Ricok 1960 87.0 78.3 0.90 91.8 93.2 1.02
Panama' 1960 74.2 72.4 0.98 84.2 83.3 0.99
Colombia 1964 74.8 71.1 0.95 81.0 83.9 1.04
Mexico 1970 78.1 70.2 0.90 86.0 83.8 0.97
Paraguay" 1962 81.1 67.9 0.84 87.9 85.6 0.97
Brazil 1970 70.1 63.9 0.91 75.6 78.4 1.04
Ecuador" 1962 72.0 63.0 0.88 81.4 78.3 0.96
Venezuelam 1961 69.8 61.7 0.88 76.0 78.2 1.03
Nicaragua 1963 50.1 49.2 0.98 51.4 58.4 1.14
Peru" 1961 74.4" 47.6" 0.64 83.3" 63.6" 0.76
El Salvadork 1961 53.9 44.5 0.82 61.6 59.8 0.97
Honduras 1961 48.7 41.5 0.85 53.1 55.5 1.04
Guatemala 1964 44.2 31.5 0.71 47.5 39.0 0.82

Oceania" 91.7 89.4 0.97 96.6 97.4 1.01
Western Samoa 1966 97.4 97.5 1.00 96.7 99.0 1.02
New Caledonia 1963 86.0 81.4 0.95 96.6 95.8 0.99






TABLE 1 (continued)


Ages 15 and over Ages 15-19
Ratio female Ratio female
Country Year Male Female to male Male Female to male
Europea 90.4 79.3 0.88 96.9 95.8 0.99
Hungary 1963 97.9 96.9 0.99 99.0 98.8 1.00
Poland 1960 97.1/ 93.8/ 0.97 99.7P 99.7P 1.00
Bulgaria 1965 95.2 85.3 0.90 99.1 98.6 0.99
Spain" 1961 91.6e 82.3e 0.90 94.2 92.8 0.98
Yugoslavia" 1961 90.1, 71.2e 0.79 u u u
Greece 1961 91.7 70.0 0.76 97.4 95.5 0.98
Portugal 1960 69.4 55.4 0.80 91.8 89.5 0.97


NOTE: Figures are for those of known literacy. See explanation and
footnotes accompanying tables in the Demographic Yearbook for vary-
ing definitions of literacy. Countries within regions are arranged from
high to low according to the percentage of females aged 15 and over
who are defined as literate.
u = unavailable.
a Average rates, which are unweighted means for the countries listed.
b Ages 13-19.
c African population only.
d Literacy defined as ability to read and write French.
e Ages 10 and over.
f Ages 14 and over.




Relationship Between Female Education and Fertility

What effect does the ability to determine the number
and spacing of one's children have on the exercise of
a woman's right to an education and to equal treatment
in the schools at all levels? Delaying the onset of child-
bearing, either by postponing marriage, or de facto
unions, or by postponing the first birth within marriage,
is the aspect of fertility regulation most relevant to the
issue of equal rights in education. Postponing the first
birth does not have a uniform impact on a woman's
opportunities for vocational training or for secondary,
college, or university education in all countries. The
impact is likely to be greatest in those countries or
among socioeconomic groups in which the probability
is initially high that a woman will pursue an education
beyond the normal age for the first years of childbear-
ing and in which the birth of a child would effectively
limit her chances of staying in school.
Regarding the first condition, Table 2 shows that
the percentage of women in the early childbearing
years, ages 15-19, who were enrolled in school during
the period 1960-1971 ranged from under 5 percent in
Sierra Leone and Pakistan (including Bangladesh) to
60 percent or over in Japan, the United States, Poland,
and France. One would expect that delaying marriage
or the first birth would improve a woman's chances of
obtaining a higher education more significantly in the
latter group of countries than in the former, where the
possibilities for schooling at this level are virtually nil.
Similar differences must also be taken into account
when considering the effect of delayed marriage or first
birth on school enrollment across major socioeconomic
groups within countries.


O Ages 14-19.
h Ages 15-24.
SExcluding nomadic population.
j Ages 15-20.
k Illiterates include those of unknown literacy.
SExcluding Canal Zone.
Excluding Indian jungle population.
Ages 17 and over.
Ages 17-19.
P Ages 14-17.
SOURCES: United Nations, Demographic Yearbook, 1971, Table 18;
1964, Table 33; 1963, Tables 12, 13.




Regarding the second condition, data from a na-
tional sample of 1,600 United States high school seniors
in 1965 who were reinterviewed in 1971, showed that
marriage and childbearing did severely hinder women
from entering or staying in college and that marriage
and children had a greater effect on women's education
than on men's. Seventy-five percent of married women
with children at the time of the interview who had
started college dropped out, compared with 52 percent
of married men with children, 22 percent of single
women, and 27 percent of single men (Jaffe and
Adams, n.d.). Childbearing would presumably disrupt
higher education less in those countries and among
socioeconomic groups in which mothers feel fewer cul-
tural pressures to stay home with their children and
where child-care assistance is more readily available.
In societies in which women marry and bear chil-
dren early, and in which virtually all women marry,
the obstacles to a woman's exercise of her right to an
education may not be her lack of knowledge or means
to plan and space children so much as the social, eco-
nomic, and cultural pressures that steer her into an
early marriage in the first place. Parental control over
the decision as to which of their children will attend
school, and when and whom their children will marry,
may preclude a young woman from making an indi-
vidual decision that attaches a higher priority to edu-
cation than to early motherhood.1 On the other hand,
a woman may more readily exercise her ability to delay
marriage or a first birth as higher education for women
becomes more generally accepted and valued.

SA high degree of parental control, however, does not neces-
sarily lead to very early marriage; it is also compatible with
marital postponement (Blake, 1967).






TABLE 2 Percentage of males and females enrolled in school and ratio of female to male enrollment rates by age,
by country and year, 1960-1971

Ages 5-14 Ages 15-19 Ages 20-24

Ratio female Ratio female Ratio female
Country Year Male Female to male Male Female to male Male Female to male


Africa"
Lesotho"'
Southern Rhodesiab
Tunisia
Zambia"
Swaziland
Ghana
Libyan Arab Republic
Malawib
Liberia
Sierra Leone
Senegald,e
Asian
Japan
Urban
Rural
Ryukyu Islands
Hong Kong
Republic of Korea
Israel
Macau
Bahrain
Philippines
Indonesia
Jordan
Iran
United Arab Emirates
Malaysia
Sabah
Sarawak
Pakistan
Americas"
Antigua
United States
British Honduras
Canada
Jamaica
Chile
Urban
Rural


Spacing pregnancies, limiting the number of
births, and ending childbirth earlier in the life cycle
could also act independently to free women for formal
schooling of various types. These variables, however,
probably have a weaker impact on education than does
postponing the onset of motherhood, although they may
affect women's attendance at adult literacy classes.2
In the long run, one would expect that as women in-
creasingly delay, space, and limit their births, spending
shorter and shorter periods of their lives in childbear-
ing, their claim to equality in education will become all
the more persistent. But education itself may be the
very precondition necessary for motivated birth plan-
ning.



2For a discussion of the disruptiveness of the first birth as
compared to additional births and the consequences of its tim-
ing to women's roles, see Presser, 1971. Heavy domestic obliga-
tions are cited as major obstacles to enrollment of women in
literacy classes in UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Or-
ganization, 1970.


Is it possible to untangle the network of interact-
ing variables into cause and effect? On one side, early
marriage itself or in combination with childbearing can
prevent education by forcing or inducing women to
discontinue their studies. Thus, where other structural
and cultural conditions favor higher education for
women, the effective postponement of marriage and
births is often crucial to the exercise of their rights in
this area. On the other side, education can prevent
marriage and childbearing or postpone them beyond
the average age of family formation as long as the
woman stays in school (Muhsam, 1971). From a demo-
graphic point of view the effect of education on repro-
ductive behavior is the more interesting aspect of the
association. Indeed, the educational level of women
appears to be one of the strongest factors affecting
fertility, especially in high fertility countries.
The relationship is not a simple one, however, nor
is it inverse in all cases. The question is how, and under
what conditions, does a woman's education make a
difference?


1966
1962
1966
1969
1966
1960
1964
1966
1962
1963
1960-1961


41.4
36.8
61.7'
73.4c
46.2
40.4
49.6'
49.4'
22.5
27.0
24.1
24.7/
57.2
u
u
U
u
u
87.6
78.29
u
75.2
71.0
48.5'
45.1
60.9
60.19
40.4

38.5
57.8
23.3
67.7
91.8
89.9
87.2
85.5
82.5
79.5
82.4
71.4


32.9
61.1
52.9'
44.7'
42.6
44.4
29.8'
21.7'
16.9
16.2
16.2
15.8f
45.2
u
u
u
u
82.2
69.19
u
66.4
56.0
49.7'
39.9
38.2
34.59
28.0

27.0
39.7
11.2
67.7
92.5
90.0
86.4
85.6
84.6
78.8
82.2
69.1


38.8
64.9
63.8
67.6
54.3
49.5
39.2
53.5h
60.8
53.7
29.7
23.2
35.8'
32.2
22.1

28.7i
19.4
15.1
32.8
39.8
71.6
20.3
61.2
13.4
51.5
59.4
27.7


27.9
63.4
62.1
66.6
48.6
44.6
22.3
52.2h
55.9
41.4
24.6
11.5
11.8'
13.9
6.1

12.3'
8.0
2.5
29.2
38.6
67.3
21.0
55.7
17.0
46.4
52.7
20.9


8.6
17.4
20.0
7.0
7.6
10.4
10.0
10.0
13.6
9.2
11.6
6.1
5.8J
10.6
2.7

u
2.1k
3.5
7.5
0.5
19.5
2.0
11.3
0.7
14.4
18.3
2.2


3.8
6.0
7.0
2.6
3.3
6.5
3.0
5.8
10.1
6.5
8.9
1.6
1 .l
3.3
0.3

u
0.4k
0.4
4.9
0.4
9.9
1.2
4.6
1.1
10.5
12.4
2.2







TABLE 2 (continued)


Ages 5-14 Ages 15-19 Ages 20-24
Ratio female Ratio female Ratio female
Country Year Male Female to male Male Female to male Male Female to male
Costa Rica 1963 79.09 76.69 0.97 24.6 21.3 0.86 9.6 6.5 0.68
Urban 90.59 88.29 0.97 51.4 40.1 0.78 22.9 12.9 0.56
Rural 73.89 70.99 0.96 11.4 8.7 0.76 3.2 2.2 0.69
Panama' 1960 74.59 75.1g 1.01 29.1 28.7 0.99 7.8 7.2 0.92
Paraguay 1962 77.19 74.89 0.97 26.3 21.9 0.83 7.6 5.6 0.74
Puerto Rico 1960 71.2 71.6 1.00 44.3 44.1 1.00 12.9 9.8 0.76
Netherlands Antilles 1960 69.5 69.0 0.99 49.5 45.9 0.93 4.4 3.0 0.68
Ecuador 1962 58.1c 67.5c 1.16 21.5 18.2 0.85 6.4 2.6 0.41
Urban 81.3c 79.0' 0.97 44.8 35.8 0.80 16.7 5.9 0.35
Rural 46.0' 43.1" 0.94 8.1 6.0 0.74 0.9 0.6 0.67
Mexico 1970 65.5' 63.2c 0.96 22.6 15.7 0.69 7.2" 3.1m 0.43
Venezuelah 1961 62.7 61.8 0.98 41.8 38.1 0.91 13.9 8.1 0.58
Nicaragua 1963 44.8' 46.7C 1.04 19.3 16.1 0.83 3.8 1.5 0.39
El Salvador 1961 48.2' 46.0c 0.95 22.0 17.6 0.80 8.1 3.6 0.44
Honduras 1961 34.1g 44.09 1.29 12.3 10.8 0.88 3.1 1.2 0.39
Peru" 1961 43.4 36.5 0.84 41.5 25.3 0.61 10.7 4.4 0.41
Trinidad and Tobago 1960 u u u 28.0 24.4 0.87 1.4 1.0 0.71
Guatemala 1964 42.19 35.59 0.84 15.1 10.6 0.70 5.3 2.1 0.40
Oceania
Australia 1966 97.8 97.8 1.00 31.7 28.1 0.89 3.7 1.4 0.38
Europea 89.2 87.8 0.98 35.1 32.4 0.92 8.8 5.0 0.57
United Kingdom
Northern Ireland 1966 100.0 100.0 1.00 30.5 31.1 1.02 6.7 3.7 0.55
Poland 1960 98.10 98.1 1.00 70.6" 60.OP 0.85 16.7q 10.8q 0.65
France 1968 u u u 54.4 61.1 1.12 14.7 12.7 0.86
Netherlands 1960 96.6 95.8 0.99 34.8 24.6 0.71 7.5 2.6 0.35
Ireland 1966 u u u 32.6 35.9 1.10 8.7 3.9 0.45
Malta 1967 95.7 93.6 0.98 26.9 19.3 0.72 3.9 1.0 0.26
Hungary 1963 91.6' 92.1, 1.00 24.2 29.5 1.22 6.1 4.3 0.70
Switzerland 1960 88.2' 88.2c 1.00 29.6 28.5 0.96 8.6 2.9 0.34
Yugoslavia 1961 85.09 79.39 0.93 32.0 24.2 0.76 u u u
Portugal 1960 58.0 55.3 0.95 15.3 10.3 0.67 6.4 3.3 0.52


NOTE: Countries within regions are arranged from high to low ac-
cording to the percentage of females aged 5-14 who are enrolled in
school.
u = unavailable.
a Average rates, which are unweighted means for the countries listed
only.
b African population only.
c Ages 6-14.
d Excluding children attending Koranic schools.
e Estimate.
I Ages 6-13.
a Ages 7-14.


It may be that the number of years of formal
schooling is simply the most visible and quantifiable
element in a cluster of interdependent forces affecting
fertility and that it is not higher education per se but
its association with factors such as openness to new
ideas, higher standards of living, exposure to an urban
environment, and a greater range of options and inter-
ests outside the home that is responsible for the ap-
parent influence of education on fertility. Nevertheless,
most studies show that the educational level of the
wife is more strongly correlated with a couple's fertility
than the educational level of the husband, suggesting
that, however the causal mechanism works, investment
in female education may have a greater impact on fer-
tility than the same investment in schooling for men.
Higher education for women can work indirectly
to reduce fertility in at least three ways: (1) by de-
laying marriage and increasing the probability of non-


Ages 14-19.
i Ages 15-18.
j Ages 19-24.
k Ages 20-22.
1 Excluding Canal Zone.
"Ages 20-29.
Excluding Indian jungle population.
Ages 7-13.
P Ages 14-17.
q Ages 18-24.
SOURCES: United Nations, Demographic Yearbook, 1971, Table 20;
1964, Table 36; 1963, Table 15.


marriage, thus reducing or eliminating the time span
of exposure to the possibility of conception (assuming
either a low probability of sexual contact outside of
marriage or a high degree of birth control); (2) by
reducing desired family size by creating aspirations for
a higher level of living for the couple and their children
and by stimulating women's interest and involvement
in activities outside the home, especially employment;
and (3) by exposing women to knowledge, attitudes,
and practices favorable to birth control, including a
higher level of communication between husband and
wife that would enable them to bring their actual re-
production in line with their desired family size.
In response to what appears to be increasingly
homogeneous behavior across socioeconomic groups in
industrialized countries regarding average age at first
marriage, desired family size, and knowledge and prac-
tice of birth control, the inverse relationship between







education and average family size in Europe, the
United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand has
diminished over the past several decades. It has not
disappeared, with the exception that in some countries,
above a certain income level, women with the most
schooling have larger families on the average than
women in the same income group with somewhat less
education. This behavior results in a slightly U-shaped
overall relationship between education and family size
(Gille, 1971; Council of Europe, 1971).
In most developing countries, the education of
women appears to have a very strong impact on family
size. But where higher education is confined to a small
elite, its impact on overall birth rates is slight. For
example, in a national survey of 3,200 currently mar-
ried Turkish women under age 45 conducted by the
Hacettepe Institute of Population Studies in 1968, uni-
versity graduates averaged 1.4 live-born children com-
pared with 2.0 for high school graduates (12 years
of school), 2.1 for elementary school graduates (8 years
of school), 2.8 for women with at least 5 years of pri-
mary school, 3.2 for women with fewer than 5 years
of school, and 4.2 for illiterate women. Only 0.5 per-
cent of the sample, however, were university graduates,
while around 65 percent were illiterate (Temur, 1971).
Even the transition from illiteracy to literacy resulting
from very low levels of schooling is shown to have some
influence on family size in many developing countries.
The rare exceptions, in which illiterate rural women
have lower birth rates than women with some primary
schooling, appear to be caused by subfecundity among
the least educated group (Erlich, 1954, p. 39; Khalifa,
1973, p. 82). Studies in many developing countries also
show that women with high school and higher educa-
tion marry considerably later, are less likely to marry at
all, desire smaller families, and are far more likely to
know about and practice modern, effective methods of
contraception than are less educated or illiterate women
(International Union for the Scientific Study of Pop-
ulation, 1971; United Nations, 1965; International
Planned Parenthood Federation, 1967).
Yet, the majority of women of reproductive age in
a number of developing countries, especially in rural
areas, are illiterate and without effective options regard-
ing marriage and childbearing. Indeed, cultural pres-
sures toward high fertility in rural areas may be so
strong as to obliterate entirely the effect of six or eight
years of schooling on reproductive behavior. For ex-
ample, J. M. Stycos and R. N. Weller (1967) found that
in the rural areas of Turkey employed women and
women with primary or higher education did not have
smaller families on the average, while in urban areas
family size varied clearly by the level of female educa-
tion. Finding similar situations in Latin America, Stycos
(1968, p. 269) suggested that a certain amount of
urbanization may be necessary "to activate the effect
of education on fertility."
Finally, a high level of education may not motivate
a woman to want a smaller family if her training does
not lead to active participation in employment outside


the home. In most countries, higher education does in-
crease the probability of a woman's employment. For
example, in Santiago Province, Chile in 1960, 11.4 per-
cent of women without education were defined as labor
force participants, compared with 19.3 percent of those
with six years of schooling, 34.5 percent of secondary
school graduates, and 71.4 percent of college graduates
(Elizaga, 1971, p. 1594). It would not be surprising to
find the most highly educated women who are not em-
ployed outside the home having families the same size
or larger than women with less education who are em-
ployed, and indeed this may explain the U-shaped rela-
tionship between education and family size in a few
industrialized countries. Not only the number of years
of schooling, but also the type or quality of schooling
can make a difference. Women trained in fields tra-
ditionally thought to be female are shown in some
studies to have higher fertility than women in less
"feminine" fields with equal or fewer years of school-
ing (Safilios-Rothschild, 1969, pp. 597-598).
Similarly, female employment itself may not influ-
ence fertility significantly unless a woman's education
has prepared her for something more than subsistence
agricultural labor, unpaid work in a family enterprise,
or other low-status, low-paying jobs. The interaction be-
tween the type and duration of a woman's education,
on the one hand, and the probability and nature of her
employment, on the other hand, must be more clearly
specified in differing social settings before the inde-
pendent effects of education and employment on re-
productive behavior can be fully understood.


EMPLOYMENT
Women's Rights and Current Reality
International instruments declare that everyone has the
right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and
favorable conditions of work, to protection against un-
employment, to fair remuneration, and to equal pay for
equal work (United Nations, 1973, p. 2, Article 23).
Women, married or unmarried, are to have equal rights
with men in this regard. In addition, in order to elimi-
nate other forms of discrimination against women in
employment, measures are to be taken to prevent their
dismissal in the event of marriage or maternity, to
provide paid maternity leave with the guarantee of re-
turning to former employment, and to provide child-
care facilities and other necessary social services
(United Nations, 1973, p. 40, Article 10).
In most countries, women are far from achieving
equality in employment with men. General conditions
of unemployment, underemployment, and low wages,
where they occur, adversely affect both men and
women, of course. But women often find it particu-
larly difficult to exercise their right to equal work and
equal pay.
Conditions vary greatly from country to country
according to their culture, socioeconomic structure,
and level of development. In general, however, women






are less likely to be gainfully employed outside the home
than are men, although they may be engaged in equally
heavy unpaid domestic or agricultural labor. Among
countries for which information is available, the per-
centage of females of all ages who were defined as "eco-
nomically active" in censuses taken from 1960 to 1972
averaged approximately 26 percent in Africa, 22 per-
cent in Asia, 18 percent in the Americas, 16 percent in
Oceania, 45 percent in the Soviet Union, and 30 percent
in Europe (see Table 3). Muslim countries showed the
lowest rates of female economic activity, frequently
under 5 percent, while a number of tropical African
countries, the eastern European countries, and the So-
viet Union showed the highest rates, over 40 percent.
In proportion to male economic activity rates, female
rates averaged 53 percent in Africa, 43 percent in Asia,
36 percent in the Americas, 31 percent in Oceania, 86
percent in the Soviet Union, and 51 percent in Europe.
Women are also more frequently classified as unem-
ployed and looking for work than are men in many
countries. Female earnings often average only a frac-
tion of male earnings even when other factors such as
type of work, education, training, and experience are
taken into account. Almost everywhere one finds women
in the paid labor force disproportionately concentrated
in lower-status, lower-paying jobs.
Most employers do not provide paid maternity
leave or guarantee return to former employment after
childbirth, and child-care facilities in most countries
are inadequate to meet the needs of working parents.
Even those governments in western and eastern Europe
and the Soviet Union committed ideologically to the
provision of child care have found it difficult to extend
the necessary services to all geographical and socioeco-
nomic groups. In developing countries that lack the
capital for elementary schooling and in which high
rates of unemployment and underemployment prevail,
paid maternity leaves and child-care centers remain an
unattainable luxury. Indeed, the argument is often
heard that women would be even more severely dis-
criminated against under these economic conditions if
employers were required to provide special services for
them. There can be little doubt that the lack of such
facilities does act as a strong constraint on women's
exercise of their right to gainful employment in most
countries.
Rates of male gainful employment vary little from
country to country or through the normal working years
in the life cycle. In contrast, rates of female employ-
ment differ enormously across nations and within
major subgroups of the population, usually follow well-
defined patterns by age, and generally fluctuate ac-
cording to women's marital status and the number and
spacing of their children (Dubrulle, 1966; Frejka,
1971).

Relationship Between Female Employment and Fertility
The major problem in analyzing the relationship be-
tween variations in female employment and fertility
derives from the difficulty of distinguishing cause and


effect, as was the case for education. Does the oppor-
tunity or need to work actually influence women to have
fewer children, or is it more often the case that women
who have fewer children for a variety of reasons are
free to take outside employment? The relative weight
given to one factor over the other depends on unique
situations in every country, but it is possible to make a
few generalizations.
Let us look first at the impact of birth planning on
female employment. Where cultural and structural con-
ditions are conducive to female employment and where
worker-mother roles are incompatible, one can point to
the considerable advantages that women practicing
effective birth planning have over those who accept
early and frequent childbearing as inevitable. Delaying
marriage and the first birth may enable women to com-
plete their education and vocational training so that
they are qualified for more highly skilled jobs or to
establish themselves in a profession, if such options are
open to them. Marriage itself, apart from childbearing,
can reduce women's participation in the labor force
to a large extent (Dubrulle, 1966). In the province of
Santiago, Chile, for example, the labor force participa-
tion rate in 1960 of married women between the ages
of 20 and 50 without children (26.3 percent) was far
lower than that for single women without children
(68.8 percent) (Elizaga, 1971).
Controlling the timing of births permits women to
combine employment and childbearing in the least dis-
ruptive way. Keeping family size small frees women to
work who might otherwise be overwhelmed by domestic
responsibilities, especially in those countries where
child-care assistance is scarce. The effect of number of
children on labor force participation depends of course
on the ages of the children, with the relationship often
disappearing once the children are older or leave home
(Berent, 1971). Table 4 shows that in some cases
(Poland and Czechoslovakia) married women with one
child may be as likely, or more likely, to be employed
than married women with no minor children. This
anomaly would probably disappear, however, if the
woman's age were taken into account. Berent suggests
that older women with lower labor force participation
rates are disproportionately concentrated in the category
of women with no minor children (Berent, 1971).
Finally, having the last child early in the life cycle
eases the burden on women working away from home
and may encourage those who have stayed at home to
reenter the labor force (Garfinkle, 1971).
Viewed in this light, the exercise of the right to de-
termine the number and spacing of her children can
have a direct impact on a woman's exercise of her eco-
nomic rights. On the other hand, there are circum-
stances in which an individual woman may not be able
to improve her chances in the labor market by delaying,
spacing, or limiting her births. In many areas, oppor-
tunities for women in employment are few or women
are discriminated against on the assumption that they
are (or will be) married and have children and, there-
fore, have less right to a job or an income than a man.






TABLE 3 Percentage of males and females who are economically active and ratio of female to male activity rates by age,
by country and year, 1960-1972

All ages Ages 20-24

Ratio female Ratio female
Country Year Male Female to male Male Female to male

Africa" 49.9 26.3 0.53 86.9 24.8 0.28
Lesotho 1966 44.5 56.6 1.27 u u u
Upper Volta 1970 50.0 56.2 1.12 u u u
Dahomey 1961 54.2 52.5 0.97 u u u
Burundi 1965 49.4 51.2 1.04 u u u
Madagascar 1965 50.3 50.7 1.01 u u u
Ivory Coast 1964 52.4 47.3 0.90 u u u
Botswanab 1964 47.4 44.9 0.95 u u u
Tanzania
Tanganika 1967 49.9 43.6 0.87 84.1 73.1 0.87
Gabon 1963 58.3 43.5 0.75 u u u
Central African Republic 1962 36.6 38.4 1.05 u u u
Camerounc 1962 59.1 38.1 0.64 u u u
Senegal 1970-1971 50.5 33.8 0.67 u u u
Ghana 1960 49.3 31.4 0.64 90.9 52.7 0.58
Sierra Leone 1963 55.9 30.3 0.54 88.6 45.8 0.52
Liberia" 1962 52.3 28.9 0.55 74.8 41.2 0.55
Southern Rhodesiae 1961 57.1 27.1 0.47 96.0 52.3 0.54
Namibia 1960 59.8 17.1 0.28 u u u
Republic of South Africa 1960 54.7 16.6 0.30 u u u
Nigeria 1963 49.4 16.0 0.32 85.7 25.5 0.30
Zambia 1969 41.0 15.9 0.39 79.6 26.5 0.33
Chad 1972 54.3 14.7 0.27 u u u
Reunion 1967 34.9 10.9 0.31 79.0' 26.9/ 0.34
Mauritius
Mauritius Island 1962 45.0 9.8 0.22 84.9 16.5 0.19
Rodrigues 1962 50.8 10.8 0.21 95.9 18.4 0.19
Nigerb 1960 53.0 6.1 0.12 u u u
Morocco 1960 50.1 5.99 0.12 87.5 7.6 0.09
Angola 1960 53.3 4.7 0.09 93.0 8.4 0.09
Arab Republic of Egypt" 1966 48.4 4.0 0.08 86.8h 7.3h 0.08
Tunisia 1966 44.4 3.0' 0.07 91.0 8.7 0.10
Libyan Arab Republic' 1964 46.6 2.7 0.06 79.5 4.4 0.06
Algeriadk 1966 42.2 1.8 0.04 93.4 3.6 0.04

Asia 49.6 21.5 0.43 86.6 40.4 0.47
Thailand 1960 54.3 51.1 0.94 88.2 86.6 0.98
Japan 1971 61.7 37.6 0.61 81.9' 69.0' 0.84
Khmer Republic 1962 50.6 36.7 0.72 88.0 63.8 0.72
Nepal 1961 55.3 36.5 0.66 96.7 69.3 0.72
Turkey 1965 53.0 33.4 0.63 92.3 61.1 0.66
Ryukyu Islands 1970 49.2 33.0 0.67 86.2 65.9 0.76
Hong Kong 1971 54.8 28.8 0.52 90.2 69.5 0.77
Cyprus 1970 58.3 26.5 0.45 u u u
Malaysia
Sabah 1960 52.1 24.5 0.47 94.2 43.7 0.46
Sarawak 1960 49.0 29.9 0.61 93.6 55.7 0.60
West Malaysia 1962 44.8 21.2 0.47 u u u
Indonesia 1964-1965 47.8 23.2 0.48 87.2" 27.4m 0.31
Syrian Arab Republic 1969 40.7 21.8 0.54 88.0h 10.0h 0.11
Philippinesd" 1970 46.0 21.3 0.46 76.0 34.4 0.45
Israeld 1971 47.0 20.7 0.44 79.6m 33.7mo 0.42
Republic of Korea 1966 40.7 18.5 0.45 u u u
Taiwan 1966 50.0 16.1 0.32 u u u
India 1971 52.4 13.2 0.25 88.1m" 43.6"p 0.49
Sri Lanka 1969-1970 45.2 13.1 0.29 84.4q 29.3q 0.35
Macau 1960 37.1 12.2 0.33 57.5 20.6 0.36
Brunei 1967 47.1 11.3 0.24 88.5h 19.8h 0.22
Pakistan 1968 58.0 8.8 0.15 89.8" 14.2" 0.16
Iranr 1966 50.7 8.3 0.16 90.8 14.2 0.16
Kuwait 1970 53.0 5.2 0.10 88.3 10.9 0.12
Bahrain 1971 49.0 3.3 0.07 u u u
Jordan 1971 43.1 2.6 0.06 89.2" 6.9" 0.08

Americas" 49.3 17.6 0.36 89.1 35.6 0.40
Bermuda 1970 62.2 42.0 0.68 92.2 76.3 0.83
Bahamas 1970 49.9 32.9 0.66 95.4 71.9 0.75
United States 1971 53.9 30.4 0.56 86.4h 44.8h 0.52
Jamaica 1960 51.9 30.3 0.58 96.7 64.5 0.67
Barbados 1970 44.6 26.0 0.58 76.5 54.7 0.72
Martinique 1970 37.2 22.9 0.62 76.8, 48.8" 0.64
French Guiana 1967 52.7 21.3 0.40 82.5" 39.9m 0.48
Canada' 1961 51.3 19.7 0.38 87.2 49.5 0.57
Guadeloupe 1967 38.4 19.5 0.51 64.0 39.5 0.62
Uruguay 1963 58.9 19.3 0.33 93.3 40.1 0.43
Puerto Rico 1972 43.9 19.1 0.44 76.0h 31.9h 0.42
Trinidad and Tobago 1960 49.5 17.9 0.36 u u u







TABLE 3 (continued)


All ages Ages 20-24

Ratio female Ratio female
Country Year Male Female to male Male Female to male


Panama" 1970
Dominican Republic 1970
Netherlands Antilles 1966
Argentina 1960
Chile 1971
Paraguay" 1962
Guyana 1960
Peru" 1961
Venezuela 1971
Brazilv 1970
Surinam 1964
British Honduras 1968
Ecuadorv 1970
Nicaragua 1963
Colombia 1964
El Salvador 1961
Mexico 1970
Costa Rica 1963
Guatemala 1964
Honduras 1961
Oceania"
Australia 1966
New Zealand 1970
Western Samoa 1966
Fiji 1966
Soviet Union"
Byelorussian SSRY 1970
Soviet Uniony 1970
Europe"
Romania 1966
Bulgaria 1965
Czechoslovakia" 1970
Poland 1960
German Democratic Republic 1964
Hungary 1970
Denmark 1971
Finland 1970
Albania 1960
Switzerland 1970
United Kingdom 1970
Yugoslavia 1971
Austria 1970
Federal Republic of Germany 1971
Sweden" 1965
France 1972
Belgium 1971
Norway 1969
Iceland 1960
Luxembourg 1966
Greece 1971
Ireland 1966
Italy 1961
Spain 1970
Netherlands 1960
Malta 1970
Portugal 1960


93.6
95.0h
u
90.3
91.6"
95.7
u
91.6
92.2"
87.7
89.7
93.9h
94.2"'
93.6
89.8
94.1
79.6
94.1
95.2
96.4
94.1
93.8
93.61
93.0
95.9


51.5 44.6
51.1 45.2
51.9 44.0


85.2
90.8
78.0
90.2
88.1
89.5,
91.5
87.5""
77.7
u
87.8
u
90.4'"
90.2'"
91.4'"
67.1
82.6"b
87.6"'
81.9"
85.0
81.1
50.6
89.4
88.8
90.4"
91.2
u
95.0


NOTE: Definitions of "economic activity" vary widely. See explana-
tion accompanying tables in the Yearbook of Labour Statistics.
Countries within regions are arranged from high to low according to
the percentage of females of all ages who are defined as economically
active.
u = unavailable.
Average rates, which are unweighted means of the countries listed.
b Excluding nomadic population and foreigners.
c African population only.
d Excluding armed forces.
e Non-African population only.
I Ages 20-29.
9 Excluding 1.2 million female family helpers in agriculture.
h 1960 rate.
SExcluding 0.25 million female family helpers.
Citizens only.
k Excluding 1.2 million women in agriculture.
1 1970 rate.


" 1961 rate.
" Excluding institutional population.
a Ages 18-34.
P Ages 15-34.
q 1963 rate.
' Excluding nomadic population.
* 1967 rate.
' Excluding territories and Indians on reservations.
" Excluding Canal Zone.
" Excluding Indian jungle population.
" 1962 rate.
x 1966 rate.
Y Excluding unpaid family workers in agriculture.
2 Ages 21-24.
"" 1965 rate.
bb 1968 rate.

souRCEs: International Labour Organization, Yearbook of Labour
Statistics, 1972, Table 1; 1971, Table 1.


40.4
12.2'
u
39.7
32.4h
31.2
u
28.0
25.8"'
27.7
32.5
24.0"
21.2"
23.9
26.3
23.3
24.1
24.4
14.4
18.5
38.4
58.9
52.91
30.4
11.3
u
u
u
58.4
74.3
72.1
78.7
67.8
72.1,
66.5
61.9""
62.6
u
71.4
u
62.0"'
75.2"'
71.7"'
56.2
62.3"b
52.2"'
47.7"
45.0
50.7
36.8
66.8
40.6
28.2"
52.8
u
26.5






TABLE 4 Rates of female labor participation by number of children, for five countries,
around 1960

Number of children
Country and sample 0 1 2 3 4 5 6-7 8 and over


East Germany, 1964
(all women aged 18-50,
children aged 0-16)
Poland, 1960
(married women aged 15
and over, children
aged 0-15)
Czechoslovakia, 1961
(married women aged 15
and over, children
aged 0-13)
Hungary, 1960
(married women aged 15
and over, children
ever born)
Santiago Province,
Chile, 1960
(married women and women
in consensual unions
aged 20-49, children
ever born alive)


83.0 69.4 61.8 57.4 53.1 44.9


62.4 62.4 57.9 59.7 64.3


47.8 60.7 55.3 50.1 45.2-- 36.8


26.3 18.0 13.6 10.9 7.1




26.3 23.7 17.6 13.3- 10.0- 7.9 7.4


SOURCES: Eastern Europe: Berent, 1971, pp. 1580-1584. Santiago: Elizaga, 1971, p. 1596.


The other side of the coin is this: to what extent
might the full exercise of women's rights to equality
with men in employment influence the number and
spacing of their children? If a consistent causal effect
were to be found, the implications for development
strategies would be clear: ensuring women's right to
equal work and equal pay would reduce birth rates
while simultaneously facilitating economic and social
development. However, the relationship depends not on
the simple fact of gainful employment but on such fac-
tors as the sector of the economy in which the woman
is employed; her occupation, income, and work com-
mitment; the duration or continuity of employment,
whether it is full- or part-time; and the availability of
child care.
Most research has focused on the concept of role
incompatibility in attempting to explain variations in
the strength of the association between female employ-
ment and fertility. The more mutually exclusive are the
roles of worker and mother, the more likely it is that
gainfully employed women will remain childless or
have smaller families than nonemployed women. Ac-
cording to this theory, female employment would reduce
fertility most effectively when birth planning is widely
practiced and when the roles of worker and mother are
most incompatible, that is, when (a) the place of work
is away from the home, which may pose practical prob-
lems relating to child care; (b) the prevailing belief is
that a woman with children should devote all her time
to them, in which case the woman feels she must
choose between work and children; and (c) a woman's
employment provides her with significant social, psy-
chological, or economic rewards, which she may be
unwilling to forego in order to have another child.3

For a more thorough discussion of some of the issues relating
to role incompatibility, see Piepmeier and Adkins, 1973.


It is mainly in the industrialized countries that the
relationship between female employment and fertility
seems most clear when currently employed and non-
employed women are compared, although historical
studies have shown that major declines in the birth rate
have often preceded the expansion of women's labor
force participation. Women who are employed full-time
tend to have smaller families (or to remain childless)
more often than those who are employed part-time or
not at all (Gille, 1971; UN European Social Develop-
men Programme, 1971). Those who work for a major
part of their married lives have smaller families than
those who work for only short periods or sporadically
(Gille, 1971; Kupinsky, 1971). Women in white-collar
and professional occupations-occupations which re-
quire higher education and provide greater social and
economic rewards-have smaller families than women
in blue-collar and service occupations (Anicic, 1971).
Women with a high degree of work commitment (for
example, women who say they would continue to work
even if their husbands made all the money they needed)
are more likely to know about and practice modern and
effective birth planning and to bear fewer children than
those who work only from economic necessity (Safilios-
Rothschild, 1969; UN European Social Development
Programme, 1971). In rural areas of industrialized
countries, however, where traditional agricultural labor
is not so incompatible with raising a family, the rela-
tionship between female employment and fertility often
disappears (Frejka, 1971).
In most developing countries, the employment-
fertility relationship is less clear, although, as in the
case of industrialized countries, a distinction must be
made between urban and rural areas and between mod-
ern and traditional sectors of the economy.
In rural areas in developing countries, paid em-
ployment (where it exists) usually has little impact on






fertility, partly because the value of large numbers of
children often remains strong and partly because the
employment is likely to be of an agricultural, market-
ing, or cottage industry type in which a woman may
either keep her young children with her while she works
or leave them with other family members (Stampar,
1972; Tien, 1971). The same reasoning holds true
for women who are engaged in unpaid production.
In urban areas, on the other hand, a woman's paid
employment is more likely to be incompatible with rais-
ing a family if it takes her out of the home and if she
has difficulty in finding ways to care for her children.
She is also more likely to learn about birth control and
have access to family planning services in urban than
in rural areas, although much depends on the sector
of the economy in which she works. For example, some
studies in urban centers of developing countries have
shown that women in the professions and in white-
collar occupations are more favorably disposed toward
the use of contraceptives and have fewer live births
than skilled manual workers, who, in turn, have smaller
families than women in the sales, trade, or service sec-
tors (Ohadike, 1971).
Generally speaking, however, the opportunities for
labor force participation of women in nonagricultural
sectors of the economies of developing countries have
been extremely limited. As a number of writers have
pointed out, the process of economic development is not
a unilinear one leading inevitably to the greater integra-
tion of women in nonagricultural production (see, for
example, UN Department of Economic and Social Af-
fairs, 1962; Collver and Langlois, 1962; Boserup, 1970).
The experiences of many African countries and of
India, for example, show that rural-urban migrations
accompanying development frequently deprive women
of their formerly productive role in agriculture, handi-
crafts, or marketing, without offering a substitute role
in the modern sectors of the towns, where unemploy-
ment is usually high (Boserup, 1970). Under these
marginal conditions, one would not expect urban birth
rates to decline rapidly. When the development effort is
heavily capital-intensive rather than labor-intensive,
women may find it particularly difficult to compete with
men for mechanized, male-typed jobs. Some critics have
suggested that an alternative form of development is
preferable, one that is labor-intensive (see Thiesen-
husen, 1971, for an extensive bibliography) and, in
areas where disapproval of women working runs high,
creates new fields of work for women that do not com-
pete with male fields (Bindary, 1972; for additional
proposals see UN Commission for Social Development,
1972). The work must be attractive to women and take
them out of their homes if it is to have an effect on
reproductive decisions.
The issue of the possible influence of maternity
and child-care benefits on the fertility of working
women is both highly relevant and controversial. Ac-
cording to the role incompatibility theory, if employ-
ment and motherhood were to become more compatible,
working women might be encouraged to have more
children as the material and energy costs of additional


reproduction were reduced. On the other hand, one
could argue that, where lack of maternal or child-care
benefits keeps many women at home who would other-
wise seek employment and become exposed to the anti-
natalist influences that employment so often entails, the
fertility of nonworking women may be increased. The
gaps in our knowledge suggest that extensive research
on the demographic impact of maternity and child-care
benefits is badly needed. As a policy matter, however,
the principle remains that women's right to these bene-
fits is clearly stated in international instruments and
cannot be abrogated for reasons of demographic ex-
pediency.


MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY
Perhaps no issue in the area of women's rights has been
as sensitive or as controversial as the idea of equal
rights of men and women on entering marriage, during
marriage, and at its dissolution, although the principle
is clearly stated in Article 16 of the Universal Declara-
tion of Human Rights (United Nations, 1973, p. 2).
In many countries, equality within the family has not
yet been recognized in civil law, and, upon marriage,
a woman may be deprived of many civil rights, such
as the independent ownership of property or the right
to work without her husband's consent. But even in
countries where legislation favors equal rights, tradi-
tional cultural patterns of male dominance in private
life are slow to change.
Could the widespread practice of birth planning
significantly alter the status of women as compared to
that of men in private life? And how does a woman's
educational or employment status affect her role in the
family? Do laws and practices relating to the status of
women at the time of marriage, during marriage, and
at its dissolution (through death, divorce, desertion, sep-
aration, or annulment) influence reproductive behavior
in a way that can be isolated from the effects of other
related forces? The area is a rich and fascinating one
to explore, for it is, of course, in the everyday inter-
action between the sexes that such extraneous factors
as education and employment are translated into actual
reproductive patterns through birth planning behavior.


Women's Rights on Entering Marriage
The United Nations has declared that child marriage
and the betrothal of young girls before puberty is to be
prohibited and that women shall have the same right as
men to free choice of a spouse and to enter into mar-
riage only with their free and full consent. The inheri-
tance of widows is banned. Minimum standards for age
at marriage are to be set in every country at not less
than 15 years, with all marriages being officially regis-
tered (United Nations, 1973, p. 2, Article 16; pp. 39-
40, Article 6; pp. 92-93).
Legal minimum ages for the first marriage of girls
range across countries from about 12 to 20 years, while
actual averages range somewhat higher from about 14
or 15 years to 24 or 25 years (Dixon, 1971; Agarwala,






1971). In setting a legal minimum age for marriage,
most countries have legislated inequalities by setting a
higher minimum age for males than for females, al-
though there is a trend toward greater equality in laws
enacted in recent years. In general, the pattern in west-
ern industrialized countries over the past century has
been one of delayed marriage and relatively high pro-
portions of women remaining single throughout their
childbearing years (from 5 to 20 percent), while in de-
veloping countries early and universal marriage for
girls is more the rule (Hajnal, 1965). Important ex-
ceptions to this generalization do exist, however, and,
in recent years, the marriage patterns of many develop-
ing and industrialized countries appear to be converging
toward an intermediate position.
Social pressures to marry girls off while they are
very young remain strong in many regions, especially
in Muslim countries, in India, and in tribal African so-
cieties. An unmarried daughter past a certain age may
be considered a disgrace to the family. Moreover, one
generally finds that in countries where girls marry very
early, the age gap between brides and grooms may aver-
age as much as 10-12 years. Thus, the girl's already
subordinate position at the time of her marriage is com-
pounded by the additional advantages her husband has
accrued with his age and experience. Where women
marry later, the difference in age between bride and
groom is usually much smaller. And, in most coun-
tries, the average age at first marriage for women is
higher and the age gap between brides and grooms
smaller among educated and employed women and
among those living in cities or towns.
What impact would the ability to space and limit
births have on the timing of marriage and the exercise
of a woman's rights at this crucial transition period in
the life cycle? Having discussed the effect of birth plan-
ning on education and employment in the previous sec-
tions, we will attempt here to consider only the direct,
independent effect of birth planning on the timing or
probability of marriage.
The essential contribution of birth control is, of
course, the separation of sexual behavior from repro-
duction. In examining the effect of contraception on
the timing or probability of marriage, much depends on
the cultural mores of the particular society. Where pre-
marital heterosexual relations are common, the ability
to delay the first birth could raise the average age at
marriage and place a woman in a better position to
choose a spouse or choose not to marry at all, especially
where a high proportion of early first marriages appear
to be "caused" by an unplanned pregnancy.4 Contracep-
tive practice could also increase a woman's chances of
an eventual marriage in societies where out-of-wedlock
births are common yet a woman without children has a


SIn the United States, for example, it was estimated that
between 1964 and 1966 over two first births in five to married
women between the ages of 15 and 19 were premaritally con-
ceived (US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare,
1970). How many of these marriages would have taken place
when they did in the absence of pregnancy?


better chance of finding a legal husband than a woman
who has had children by another man (Blake, 1961).
If the early pregnancy is intended as a means to ensure
marriage, however, as in societies where a woman's
fecundity must be proven before she is acceptable as a
bride, then there would be little motivation for birth
planning at this stage in the life cycle.
Effective birth planning can also lower the aver-
age age at first marriage by making it possible for cou-
ples to marry early while postponing their childbearing.
Much of the decline in the average age of brides in
western countries in the last three decades may be
attributed to this factor (see, for example, Lettenstr0m,
1971).
Turning the question around, how much impact on
family planning behavior and fertility would we expect
the abolition of child marriage or betrothal to have, or
the exercise of the rights to free choice of spouse or
to marry only with free and full consent? And to what
extent do the timing and number of marriages influ-
ence birth rates?
Let us address the second question first. Discount-
ing for the moment the effect that a later age at mar-
riage has on the woman's position within the marriage,
we would expect variations in nuptiality to determine
fertility patterns most strongly in societies in which
birth control is not widely practiced within marriage
and in which the rates of out-of-wedlock births are
very low. Thus, the decline of birth rates in western
Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth cen-
turies can be attributed in good part to patterns of late
marriage with relatively high proportions of women
never marrying, while the early and universal marriage
of girls in many developing countries, especially in
parts of Asia and Africa, sets the stage for high levels
of fertility.
Where birth control within marriage is widely
practiced, the timing of marriage alone is less influ-
ential in determining completed family size. Differen-
tials appearing early in the reproductive years as a re-
sponse to marital postponement may disappear by the
time childbearing is completed. Of course, if marriages
are delayed in conjunction with higher education or
nonagricultural female employment, family size may
be kept small in an attempt to achieve a higher stan-
dard of living for the couple and their existing children.
Where de facto marriages are frequent, as in parts
of Latin America and the Caribbean, formal marriage
patterns are also less likely to have a significant effect
on fertility. In these societies, a large proportion of the
female population, while not legally married, enters
into more-or-less permanent consensual unions or more
casual "visiting" unions in which childbearing is ac-
cepted and begins early. The futility of trying to regulate
birth rates through the medium of legislation rais-
ing the minimum age at marriage-if such were con-
sidered desirable-can clearly be seen in this case, as
in cases where young girls continue to be betrothed or
married before puberty in spite of legal prohibitions. At
any rate, raising the minimum age at marriage from






12 to 14 years or from 14 to 16 years may have no
effect at all on the average age of the woman at the
time of her first birth. Indian studies suggest that the
average age at marriage would have to reach 19 or 20
years to have a significant demographic impact in that
country (Chidambaram and Zodegkar, 1971), a feat
not likely to be accomplished by legislation alone.
The loss of parental control over the arrangement
of their children's marriages, insofar as such control is
associated with early and universal marriage within an
extended family system placing great importance on
large numbers of children, should serve to delay mar-
riage on the average and to increase the probability of
nonmarriage for some women, either voluntarily or in-
voluntarily. Courtship, after all, takes time, and an in-
dependently contracted marriage requires a degree of
maturity not needed or desired of a young girl whose
primary obligation is to obey the wishes of her husband
and her elders. The free choice of a spouse-even with
a considerable amount of parental guidance-also im-
plies a degree of equality between husband and wife at
the time of their marriage that may be important for
effective communication about family size desires and
the practice of family planning.


Women's Rights During Marriage
According to United Nations instruments, men and
women are to share equal rights and responsibilities
within marriage, including equal rights and duties in
matters relating to their children (United Nations,
1973, p. 11, Article 23; pp. 39-40, Article 6). Evidence
from surveys suggests that, in practice, the greater the
resources that a woman brings into her marriage rela-
tive to those of her husband (especially in regard to her
education and outside paid employment or essential agri-
cultural production), the greater the degree of equality
she is likely to have in the major decisions of the family
(Khalifa, 1973; Noordhoek and Smith, 1971; Safilios-
Rothschild, 1967; Weller, 1968; Beluhan, 1971). Studies
of married couples in predominantly urban areas in both
industrialized and developing countries also indicate
that the more the division of labor in the home (includ-
ing decision-making) approaches equality, the more
likely couples are to (a) communicate with one another
about sex, family size desires, and birth planning; (b)
report a high degree of sexual satisfaction; (c) express
a desire for small families; and (d) carry out their fam-
ily size desires effectively (Inayatullah, 1963; Safilios-
Rothschild, 1971; Rainwater, 1965; Mitchel, 1972;
Garcia and Ramirez, 1971; Hill, Stycos, and Back, 1959;
Weller, 1968; Rosen and Simmons, 1971).
Patterns of male dominance within the household,
where they exist, are frequently found to be associated
with strong double standards of sexual behavior and
with extreme resistance on the part of husbands to their
wives' learning about or using female methods of con-
traception. Resistance is apparently often founded in
the belief that wives will no longer remain sexually


faithful or generally submissive to their husbands if
they know how to prevent pregnancies (Olusanya,
1969; Mendoza, 1963). The implicit assumption here
is that birth planning can indeed be a powerful means
to greater independence for women in the family, at
least under some conditions.
There are also situations, however, in which a
woman's status is defined almost entirely by the num-
ber of children she bears, or by the number of her sons,
so that the more fertile she is, the more authority
and respect she commands. Under these conditions, a
woman who remains childless or who bears only one or
two children could well be the object of ridicule or pity.
Family planning clinics in several African countries,
for example, have found that women are often more
interested in learning about ways to increase their fer-
tility than about ways to decrease it (Husein, 1965). In
the context of such beliefs, it would be detrimental to
the status of the woman to practice contraception as
long as no alternative roles were possible under exist-
ing economic and social conditions. Insofar as the spac-
ing of births leads to a higher rate of infant survival,
however, birth planning could increase family size and,
thus, the woman's authority even within this pronatalist
context.
The crux of the argument regarding the relation
between equality within marriage and fertility appears
to be the issue of alternative roles. When nonfamilial
activities for women are highly valued and rewarded,
a wife's participation in these activities tends to bring
a greater degree of equality into the marriage. A greater
degree of equality tends to create an interpersonal rela-
tionship more favorable to birth planning and lower
fertility, while the resulting smaller family size itself
permits a closer relationship between husband and wife
and a greater degree of equality. But where nonfamilial
alternatives are not available for women-that is, where
the division of labor follows highly traditional lines and
the individual woman has little autonomy-then fre-
quent childbearing is rewarded and encouraged. A
woman's prestige in the eyes of her husband, her rela-
tives, and the community at large may depend solely
on the number of children she bears.
The rights and duties of parents regarding their
children (and the reciprocal rights and duties of chil-
dren regarding their parents) may also play a crucial
role in shaping reproductive decisions. It has become
commonplace to assert that where children participate
in economic or domestic production at an early age and
carry obligations to support their parents in sickness
and old age, the incentive for having large numbers of
children is high. On the other hand, where children be-
come primarily consumers of material resources rather
than producers, the costs of a large family may over-
ride the benefits.
The question is less frequently asked about the
effect of the division of parental rights and responsi-
bilities on family size decisions. Speculation on the dif-
ferences between husbands and wives in their desire
for additional children sometimes focuses on the as-






sumption that, because women tend to carry the major
responsibility for day-to-day care of children and men
are removed from the immediate burdens of child care,
the motivation to keep the family small should be
stronger among women.5 But this is not always the
case. Alternative hypotheses suggest that men, being
more closely associated with the financial responsibili-
ties of children and more exposed to modern ideas out-
side the home, should be more intensely motivated to
limit family size. The true answer must rest in the
unique cultural and structural conditions of each soci-
ety that determine the division of labor between the
spouses and the perceived costs and benefits to each
spouse of additional children.
We have been discussing the nature of informal
equality between the spouses. It is not possible to ex-
amine here the relationship between the number and
spacing of children and the exercise of a woman's legal
rights and obligations within the family because there
are few systematic data in this area. How does the
denial of certain of a woman's civil rights, such as the
right to own, inherit, or bequeath property, for example,
affect her desired family size? Where only male chil-
dren inherit property, does fertility increase until a
desired number of sons is born? Is a woman who bears
no children, only one or two children, or only daugh-
ters disadvantaged under some legal systems more than
under others?
Nor have we explored the relationship between
fertility and equal rights within different kinds of
marital unions-nuclear as compared with extended
families, monogamous as compared with polygamous
unions, legal marriages as compared with consensual
or more casual "visiting" unions. Evidence regarding
the effect of these differences in family structure on
fertility is inconclusive and needs to be more precisely
specified. In the same social setting, couples in nuclear
families do not necessarily bear fewer children on the
average than those in extended families, where one
would expect child raising to be easier (Nag, 1973).
Individual women in monogamous unions may bear
more children than women in polygamous unions,
where long taboos on sexual intercourse can more easily
be observed during lactation; yet polygamy can in-
crease the overall birth rate by ensuring that all women
marry, marry young, and remarry quickly (Romaniuk,
1971). Women in consensual or "visiting" unions may
have their first sexual experiences and begin childbear-
ing earlier, but their births tend to be spaced at wider
intervals and lead to lower completed family sizes than
those of married women (Roberts, 1971; Blake, 1961).



6 One review of KAP studies of the 1960s showed that in 11
out of 12 studies in which it was possible to compare male and
female responses, a larger proportion of women than men re-
ported wanting no additional children (Nortman, 1972, pp.
68-71). The countries were Bangladesh (Dacca, 1963 and 1964);
Ghana (1963); India (Delhi, 1958-1961); Indonesia (Jakarta,
1968); Kenya (Nairobi, 1966); Morocco (urban, 1966; rural,
1967; small towns, 1967); Pakistan (Lahore, 1960); Thailand
(1968). The exception was Algeria (urban, 1967-1968).


The legal and de facto rights that a woman has within
each type of union also need to be specified.


Women's Rights at the Dissolution of Marriage
The United Nations has not addressed the question of
whether couples have a basic right to terminate an
unhappy marriage. Its instruments do declare, how-
ever, that whatever the degree of restrictiveness a state
imposes regarding divorce, the grounds for dissolving
a marriage and the rights and obligations following its
dissolution should be the same for men and women.
Provision is to be made for the necessary protection of
children at the time of marital dissolution. In assessing
the rights and responsibilities of parents, the interests
of the children are to remain paramount (United Na-
tions, 1973, p. 11, Article 23; pp. 39-40 Article 6).
How might the practice of birth planning affect a
woman's rights at the time of divorce, or the probability
of the divorce itself? In industrialized countries with
liberal divorce laws, one would expect that remaining
childless or having only one or two children would
place women in a more advantageous position in that
they would feel less compelled to remain in an unsatis-
factory marriage and more able to manage indepen-
dently. Of course, much depends on their options out-
side the home. Some studies show that women who are
gainfully employed have a higher probability of divorc-
ing than do housewives (see, for example, Hansluwka,
1971), and we know that divorce tends to be more fre-
quent among couples with no children or with small
families, even when duration of marriage is controlled.
Under these conditions, birth planning should enable
women more easily to exercise their equal rights at the
time of divorce.
On the other hand, in societies where the husband
has unilateral power to divorce his wife and take
another and where the wife's options outside the home
are few, the fear of repudiation can motivate a woman
to have many children as a form of protective "insur-
ance" (Hussein, 1966). Thus, where sterility or the
absence of sons is frequently used to justify divorce,
the woman with the most children may feel the safest
in her marriage-a marriage she depends on for her
survival. Eliminating the husband's power to divorce
his wife at will could lighten the pressure on a wife to
reproduce so abundantly.
The impact on fertility of marital dissolution either
through divorce, annulment, desertion, separation, or
death depends to a large extent on patterns of remar-
riage and on the length of reproductive time a woman
"loses" between sexual unions. Where death rates are
high, the reproductive period of a woman may be short-
ened by eight or ten years on the average due to the
early death of either herself or her husband (Agar-
wala, 1963). If the remarriage of widows is forbidden,
as it was in Hindu tradition among the higher castes,
fertility is inevitably depressed; if widows are inherited,
as in Muslim custom, fertility may not be reduced at
all. The impact of divorce, annulment, or separation






also depends on the probabilities of the woman's re-
marriage or her entry into another type of sexual union.
It is difficult, with existing evidence, to evaluate
precisely the relationship between reproductive behav-
ior and women's rights at the time of marital dissolu-
tion as to property, support, custody over children,
remarriage, and so on. But such factors may play an
influential role in shaping family size desires and
decisions.



PARTICIPATION OF WOMEN IN PUBLIC LIFE
AND DECISION-MAKING
The United Nations has declared the right of women
to participate in public life and political decision-mak-
ing on equal terms with men, specifically the right to
vote in all elections, to be eligible for all publicly elected
bodies, and to hold public office (United Nations, 1973,
p. 8, Article 3; p. 39, Article 4; pp. 90-91). Women
have won the right to vote in all but a handful of coun-
tries, but in most nations-even those that guarantee
equality in the law-women are poorly represented at
the upper levels of decision-making in government
offices or elective bodies. Their greatest successes have
occurred in countries where the government actively
promotes equality between men and women in public
life, thus overcoming some of the traditional resistance
to the idea of placing women in leadership positions.
Elsewhere the story is not so encouraging. Many coun-
tries point to the one or two women in conspicuously
high positions, while ignoring the extreme underrepre-
sentation of women as a major population group.
The participation of women in public life can have
the same relationship to fertility as other forms of em-
ployment. Women with reduced domestic responsibili-
ties are more free to involve themselves in community
or national activities, while women whose political
involvement takes them out of the home and into a
world of wider interests and rewards may desire and
have smaller families. But beyond this direct associa-
tion between public life and reproduction among women
who are themselves active participants, an expanded
engagement of women in public affairs may have a far
broader-though less direct and more difficult to mea-
sure-impact on fertility patterns by producing highly
visible models of women who are active, competent
leaders and decision-makers. The existence of such
women can be a powerful force toward changing atti-
tudes regarding female roles and responsibilities. Even
the act of voting itself may encourage women to have
greater confidence in their own capacity for indepen-
dent thought and action, a confidence that could carry
over into the more private activities of sex and child-
bearing.
Of course, the participation of women in political
areas specifically devoted to improving the status of
women, promoting equality between the sexes, or ex-
panding birth planning information and services can
have a tremendous impact on the questions we have


been discussing. Women are becoming increasingly
active in a number of countries as policymakers in their
own organizations, as highly vocal social critics, and
as members of skilled pressure groups in the political
arena.
In the field of development planning and popula-
tion policy, where women have been severely under-
represented in the past, women are now beginning to
take note of the overwhelmingly masculine character
of research institutes and decision-making bodies. They
are demanding a larger role in determining and evalu-
ating policies that intimately affect their lives.6 In the
long run, the direction of development planning and
population research, along with the priorities for action,
may shift considerably as the relationships between
social and economic structures, equal rights for men
and women, and demographic behavior are more fully
understood and as women share equally with men in
leadership positions.



THE STATUS OF WOMEN
AND DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGES
Is it possible to isolate particular aspects of population
processes in order to identify their general influence on
women's status now and in the future? More specifi-
cally, how is the position of women in the family, in
education, in employment, and in public life shaped
under different conditions of population growth, struc-
ture, and distribution? What demographic conditions
appear to facilitate equality between the sexes, and
what conditions appear to hinder it?
It is easy to point to examples of countries with
very rapid rates of population growth in which the ad-
vancement of women is apparently severely hindered
by the burden of a high dependency ratio and by ex-
treme population pressures on scarce material and
social resources that limit their opportunities, not only
absolutely, but in comparison with men. There are also
highly visible examples of countries with very low birth
rates in which women appear to have achieved a high
level of equality with men, especially in education and
employment, and in which adequate resources are in-
vested in health care, social security, child care,
maternity benefits, and other essential social services.
Between these two extremes, however, it is almost
impossible to evaluate the impact on the status of
women of different rates of population growth. And
even including the extremes, demographic conditions
may play only a minor role in determining the absolute
and relative positions of women in the family and in
society at large, compared with the roles played by
economic conditions, stages of development, political


O As one example, this theme predominated in the United
Nations International Forum on the Role of Women in Popula-
tion and Development held at Airlie, Virginia, in February 1974
and attended by high-ranking women delegates from over 80
countries.






also depends on the probabilities of the woman's re-
marriage or her entry into another type of sexual union.
It is difficult, with existing evidence, to evaluate
precisely the relationship between reproductive behav-
ior and women's rights at the time of marital dissolu-
tion as to property, support, custody over children,
remarriage, and so on. But such factors may play an
influential role in shaping family size desires and
decisions.



PARTICIPATION OF WOMEN IN PUBLIC LIFE
AND DECISION-MAKING
The United Nations has declared the right of women
to participate in public life and political decision-mak-
ing on equal terms with men, specifically the right to
vote in all elections, to be eligible for all publicly elected
bodies, and to hold public office (United Nations, 1973,
p. 8, Article 3; p. 39, Article 4; pp. 90-91). Women
have won the right to vote in all but a handful of coun-
tries, but in most nations-even those that guarantee
equality in the law-women are poorly represented at
the upper levels of decision-making in government
offices or elective bodies. Their greatest successes have
occurred in countries where the government actively
promotes equality between men and women in public
life, thus overcoming some of the traditional resistance
to the idea of placing women in leadership positions.
Elsewhere the story is not so encouraging. Many coun-
tries point to the one or two women in conspicuously
high positions, while ignoring the extreme underrepre-
sentation of women as a major population group.
The participation of women in public life can have
the same relationship to fertility as other forms of em-
ployment. Women with reduced domestic responsibili-
ties are more free to involve themselves in community
or national activities, while women whose political
involvement takes them out of the home and into a
world of wider interests and rewards may desire and
have smaller families. But beyond this direct associa-
tion between public life and reproduction among women
who are themselves active participants, an expanded
engagement of women in public affairs may have a far
broader-though less direct and more difficult to mea-
sure-impact on fertility patterns by producing highly
visible models of women who are active, competent
leaders and decision-makers. The existence of such
women can be a powerful force toward changing atti-
tudes regarding female roles and responsibilities. Even
the act of voting itself may encourage women to have
greater confidence in their own capacity for indepen-
dent thought and action, a confidence that could carry
over into the more private activities of sex and child-
bearing.
Of course, the participation of women in political
areas specifically devoted to improving the status of
women, promoting equality between the sexes, or ex-
panding birth planning information and services can
have a tremendous impact on the questions we have


been discussing. Women are becoming increasingly
active in a number of countries as policymakers in their
own organizations, as highly vocal social critics, and
as members of skilled pressure groups in the political
arena.
In the field of development planning and popula-
tion policy, where women have been severely under-
represented in the past, women are now beginning to
take note of the overwhelmingly masculine character
of research institutes and decision-making bodies. They
are demanding a larger role in determining and evalu-
ating policies that intimately affect their lives.6 In the
long run, the direction of development planning and
population research, along with the priorities for action,
may shift considerably as the relationships between
social and economic structures, equal rights for men
and women, and demographic behavior are more fully
understood and as women share equally with men in
leadership positions.



THE STATUS OF WOMEN
AND DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGES
Is it possible to isolate particular aspects of population
processes in order to identify their general influence on
women's status now and in the future? More specifi-
cally, how is the position of women in the family, in
education, in employment, and in public life shaped
under different conditions of population growth, struc-
ture, and distribution? What demographic conditions
appear to facilitate equality between the sexes, and
what conditions appear to hinder it?
It is easy to point to examples of countries with
very rapid rates of population growth in which the ad-
vancement of women is apparently severely hindered
by the burden of a high dependency ratio and by ex-
treme population pressures on scarce material and
social resources that limit their opportunities, not only
absolutely, but in comparison with men. There are also
highly visible examples of countries with very low birth
rates in which women appear to have achieved a high
level of equality with men, especially in education and
employment, and in which adequate resources are in-
vested in health care, social security, child care,
maternity benefits, and other essential social services.
Between these two extremes, however, it is almost
impossible to evaluate the impact on the status of
women of different rates of population growth. And
even including the extremes, demographic conditions
may play only a minor role in determining the absolute
and relative positions of women in the family and in
society at large, compared with the roles played by
economic conditions, stages of development, political


O As one example, this theme predominated in the United
Nations International Forum on the Role of Women in Popula-
tion and Development held at Airlie, Virginia, in February 1974
and attended by high-ranking women delegates from over 80
countries.






and social structures, cultural values and beliefs, and
governmental priorities for policy and action.
Moreover, a vast number of questions remain un-
answered regarding the effect of specific population
trends on the status of women and on women's poten-
tial for equality with men. What is the effect of chang-
ing mortality conditions, for example? As health care,
sanitation, and nutrition improve, one immediate effect
will be to make childbearing safer. But the trend could
be disadvantageous if it means an unwanted increase
in fecundity among women who are already overbur-
dened with family responsibilities and who lack the
knowledge and means to prevent further pregnancies.
And a higher survival ratio among infants, if it occurs
at a time of food shortages, could mean that female
children would be even more likely to be deprived of
adequate nourishment if males were given priority for
scarce resources within the family.
What effect does urbanization have on the status
of women? In rural areas with a heavy out-migration
of males, the remaining female population may "im-
prove" its status by taking over many activities formerly
performed by men and by acquiring a major decision-
making role in the family and in the community. Or
the consequences could mean only a double burden for
the women left behind and an increased competition
for the attention of the remaining males.
When women move to cities, are their rights likely
to be expanded or contracted, and in what ways? Under
some conditions, the move may represent a real free-
dom from the constraints and traditions of village life
and an opportunity for higher education, employment,
and new independence. Under other conditions, it may
represent an isolation from a formerly supportive en-
vironment, a loss of child-care and household assis-
tance, and a new division of labor between husband and
wife even more rigid than the one left behind. Does the
transition from extended to nuclear family, from polyg-
amous to monogamous union, from early to late mar-
riage or nonmarriage, from arranged match to free
choice always represent an improvement? Or can it
sometimes expose women to the possibility of greater
male domination or domination of a subtler type? Can
the expanded gainful employment of women outside
the home in most countries always be taken as a sign
of their emancipation, or does it often merely add one
form of exploitation to another?
There appears to be little doubt that a continued
high rate of population growth can have serious impli-
cations in retarding economic and social development,
with accompanying repercussions on the status of
women. This is particularly true in the areas of educa-
tion, training, and employment. In most countries,
social services assisting parents with family responsi-
bilities are still in short supply; the positive value of
day-care centers as a means of raising women's aspira-
tions and releasing them for education, economic pro-
duction, and political participation is yet to be fully
recognized. Some critics of current development pro-
grams have expressed the fear that under the pressure
of competing economic priorities, women's right to


equal participation with men in all aspects of social and
economic development will be sacrificed to preferential
treatment of males in training and employment, leav-
ing women relatively unaffected in their traditional
roles. Yet, the participation of women is essential to
the developmental process and of great and immediate
consequence. Women can be a driving force in society,
or they can retard progress. Much depends on the pri-
orities set by development planners.
Policymakers need to take more careful note of the
demographic relevance of equality between the sexes.
We have seen the extent to which equality in the
spheres of education, employment, the family, and
public life appears to be associated with more effective
birth planning and with a smaller desired family size
among women who marry. Indeed, in some countries
where women come closest to exercising their equal
rights, birth rates have reached very low levels.
But regardless of the demographic conditions or
goals of any particular country, the universal human
rights aspects of birth planning and the status of
women must be affirmed. Constraints on the exercise
of the right to decide whether and when to bear chil-
dren affect the exercise of other rights in marriage
and the family, education, employment, and public
life. They may affect directly the right of women and
children to physical and mental health. At the same
time, constraints on women's right to equality with
men in all these spheres may, in turn, severely limit
the exercise of the right to decide freely and responsi-
bly on the number and spacing of their children.
The aim of any population policy must be the
enrichment of human life, not its restriction. Thus, the
provision of family planning services is no substitute
for radical social, economic, or political reform, but
must be seen as an integral and simultaneous element
among a variety of policies and programs designed to
promote the full exercise of all fundamental human
rights and freedoms.



REFERENCES
Agarwala, S. N. 1963. "Social and cultural factors affecting
fertility in India." Proceedings, Seventh Conference of
the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Singa-
pore.
- 1971. "Pattern of marriage in some ECAFE coun-
tries." International Population Conference, London,
1969. Vol. 3. Liege: International Union for the Scien-
tific Study of Population, pp. 2106-2125.
Anicic, Zagorka. 1971. "Certain indicators of recent fertil-
ity trends of Yugoslav population." International Popula-
tion Conference, London, 1969. Vol. 1. Liege: Interna-
tional Union for the Scientific Study of Population, pp.
495-509.
Beluhan, A. 1971. "Survey of KAP of family planning and
problems connected with motherhood in two factories
in Zagreb." Zena 29.
Berent, Jerzy. 1971. "Some demographic aspects of female
employment in Eastern Europe." International Popula-
tion Conference, London, 1969. Vol. 3. Liege: Interna-
tional Union for the Scientific Study of Population, pp.
1572-1588.






and social structures, cultural values and beliefs, and
governmental priorities for policy and action.
Moreover, a vast number of questions remain un-
answered regarding the effect of specific population
trends on the status of women and on women's poten-
tial for equality with men. What is the effect of chang-
ing mortality conditions, for example? As health care,
sanitation, and nutrition improve, one immediate effect
will be to make childbearing safer. But the trend could
be disadvantageous if it means an unwanted increase
in fecundity among women who are already overbur-
dened with family responsibilities and who lack the
knowledge and means to prevent further pregnancies.
And a higher survival ratio among infants, if it occurs
at a time of food shortages, could mean that female
children would be even more likely to be deprived of
adequate nourishment if males were given priority for
scarce resources within the family.
What effect does urbanization have on the status
of women? In rural areas with a heavy out-migration
of males, the remaining female population may "im-
prove" its status by taking over many activities formerly
performed by men and by acquiring a major decision-
making role in the family and in the community. Or
the consequences could mean only a double burden for
the women left behind and an increased competition
for the attention of the remaining males.
When women move to cities, are their rights likely
to be expanded or contracted, and in what ways? Under
some conditions, the move may represent a real free-
dom from the constraints and traditions of village life
and an opportunity for higher education, employment,
and new independence. Under other conditions, it may
represent an isolation from a formerly supportive en-
vironment, a loss of child-care and household assis-
tance, and a new division of labor between husband and
wife even more rigid than the one left behind. Does the
transition from extended to nuclear family, from polyg-
amous to monogamous union, from early to late mar-
riage or nonmarriage, from arranged match to free
choice always represent an improvement? Or can it
sometimes expose women to the possibility of greater
male domination or domination of a subtler type? Can
the expanded gainful employment of women outside
the home in most countries always be taken as a sign
of their emancipation, or does it often merely add one
form of exploitation to another?
There appears to be little doubt that a continued
high rate of population growth can have serious impli-
cations in retarding economic and social development,
with accompanying repercussions on the status of
women. This is particularly true in the areas of educa-
tion, training, and employment. In most countries,
social services assisting parents with family responsi-
bilities are still in short supply; the positive value of
day-care centers as a means of raising women's aspira-
tions and releasing them for education, economic pro-
duction, and political participation is yet to be fully
recognized. Some critics of current development pro-
grams have expressed the fear that under the pressure
of competing economic priorities, women's right to


equal participation with men in all aspects of social and
economic development will be sacrificed to preferential
treatment of males in training and employment, leav-
ing women relatively unaffected in their traditional
roles. Yet, the participation of women is essential to
the developmental process and of great and immediate
consequence. Women can be a driving force in society,
or they can retard progress. Much depends on the pri-
orities set by development planners.
Policymakers need to take more careful note of the
demographic relevance of equality between the sexes.
We have seen the extent to which equality in the
spheres of education, employment, the family, and
public life appears to be associated with more effective
birth planning and with a smaller desired family size
among women who marry. Indeed, in some countries
where women come closest to exercising their equal
rights, birth rates have reached very low levels.
But regardless of the demographic conditions or
goals of any particular country, the universal human
rights aspects of birth planning and the status of
women must be affirmed. Constraints on the exercise
of the right to decide whether and when to bear chil-
dren affect the exercise of other rights in marriage
and the family, education, employment, and public
life. They may affect directly the right of women and
children to physical and mental health. At the same
time, constraints on women's right to equality with
men in all these spheres may, in turn, severely limit
the exercise of the right to decide freely and responsi-
bly on the number and spacing of their children.
The aim of any population policy must be the
enrichment of human life, not its restriction. Thus, the
provision of family planning services is no substitute
for radical social, economic, or political reform, but
must be seen as an integral and simultaneous element
among a variety of policies and programs designed to
promote the full exercise of all fundamental human
rights and freedoms.



REFERENCES
Agarwala, S. N. 1963. "Social and cultural factors affecting
fertility in India." Proceedings, Seventh Conference of
the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Singa-
pore.
- 1971. "Pattern of marriage in some ECAFE coun-
tries." International Population Conference, London,
1969. Vol. 3. Liege: International Union for the Scien-
tific Study of Population, pp. 2106-2125.
Anicic, Zagorka. 1971. "Certain indicators of recent fertil-
ity trends of Yugoslav population." International Popula-
tion Conference, London, 1969. Vol. 1. Liege: Interna-
tional Union for the Scientific Study of Population, pp.
495-509.
Beluhan, A. 1971. "Survey of KAP of family planning and
problems connected with motherhood in two factories
in Zagreb." Zena 29.
Berent, Jerzy. 1971. "Some demographic aspects of female
employment in Eastern Europe." International Popula-
tion Conference, London, 1969. Vol. 3. Liege: Interna-
tional Union for the Scientific Study of Population, pp.
1572-1588.






Bindary, Aziz. 1972. "New approaches to rural population
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UNFPA Seminar on Population Problems as Related to
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Boserup, Ester. 1970. Woman's Role in Economic Develop-
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Chidambaram, V. C., and A. V. Zodegkar. 1971. "Increas-
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iY


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