Husbands’ and wives’ reports of women’s decision-making power in western Guatemala and their effects on preventive health behaviours

Stan Becker, Johns Hopkins University
Fannie Fonseca-Becker, Johns Hopkins University
Catherine Schenck-Yglesias, JHPIEGO Corporation

Surveys have attempted to measure married women’s decision-making power by asking women who has a say and/or final say in a number of household decisions. In several studies where the same questions were posed to husbands, considerable discrepancies in reports were found. This paper assesses husband and wife reports of decision-making on four matters (buying large household items; what to do if a child becomes ill; whether or not to buy medicine for a family member who is ill; what to do if a pregnant women becomes very ill) and the relationship of these reports to three recent preventive health behaviours. The sample consisted of 546 couples in 53 communities of three departments of Western Guatemala. Women tended to understate their decision-making power relative to their husbands’ reports. But women’s reports had greater power in predicting whether the couple had prepared an emergency plan before the last birth.

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Presented in Session 175: Collecting and analysing data on gender