Women's economic roles and child survival: the case of India

Health Transit Rev. 1991 Apr;1(1):83-103.


This article provides evidence that women's employment, in spite of its other benefits, probably has one crucial adverse consequence: a higher level of child mortality than is found among women who do not work. We examine various intermediate mechanisms for this relationship and conclude that a shortage of time is one of the major reasons for this negative relation between maternal employment and child survival. However, even in the area of child survival, there is one aspect which is positively affected by female employment: the disadvantage to girls in survival which is characteristic of South Asia seems to be smaller among working mothers. This is in contrast to the effect of maternal education which may often have no clear relation to the sex ratio of childhood mortality even though absolute levels of child mortality are lower for educated mothers.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Care
  • Child Welfare* / statistics & numerical data
  • Child, Preschool
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India
  • Male
  • Maternal Behavior
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality*
  • Mothers
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • Women, Working*