Journal of Undergraduate Research


women's autonomy, family planning, Nepal, maternal health services


Family, Home, and Social Sciences




In 2010, maternal death rates globally reached as high as 210 per 100,000 (United Nations, 2013) and resulted in part from a lack of maternal health services. Maternal health services like family planning play a critical role in improving women’s reproductive health in developing countries (Bhatia and Cleland, 1995). Today there are an estimated 225 million women in developing countries that would choose to delay or stop childbearing but are not using any method of contraception (World Health Organization [WHO], 2015). Linked to low contraceptive use, women in these regions also have low levels of autonomy. These male-dominated regions place little value in women and their health. To further examine the link between women’s autonomy and family planning, I model women’s empowerment and contraceptive use in Nepal. In Nepal, there is a low rate of contraceptive usage and a large percentage of women who would like to have access but don’t. In 2006, 25% of married women expressed an unmet need for family planning (Adanu, 2008). Despite increases in family planning throughout Asia, Nepal still lacks in terms of the availability and usage of family planning.

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