Perception of childbearing women on gender roles in reproductive decision making and under-five children health status in Abia State, Nigeria
The issue of reproductive decision making has been predominantly seen and treated as a purely feminine matter in a developing country like Nigeria. This paper examined gender roles in reproductive decision making and under-five health status with data from a sample of 609 women of childbearing age from the three Senatorial Districts (North, Central and South) of Abia State. The study revealed that husbands’ education and income positively affected utilization of health care facilities by their wives and child health. The likelihood of under-five mortality significantly increased by male superiority in reproductive decision-making (Odds-Ratio (OR): 4.883; p<0.00) and desire for more children (OR: 5.844; P<0.00). The dominance of males in reproductive decisions was explained by women’s apprehension of being neglected by their husbands. Effective policies should be designed to improve couple’s constructive involvement in reproductive health matters towards reducing under-five deaths and achieving gender equality with respect to sexual and reproductive health.
Keywords: under-five mortality, gender roles, reproductive decision, Abia State, Nigeria