The effect of women's decision-making power on maternal health services uptake: evidence from Pakistan

Health Policy Plan. 2013 Mar;28(2):176-84. doi: 10.1093/heapol/czs042. Epub 2012 Apr 20.


A large body of research has explored the links between women's decision making and their uptake of maternal health services, but the evidence so far is inconclusive. This study uses the Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey to examine the influence of household decision making on women's uptake of maternal health services. We find that women's decision-making power has a significant positive correlation with maternal health services uptake and that influential males' decision-making power has the opposite effect, after controlling for socio-economic indicators and supply-side conditions. Our findings suggest that empowering women and increasing their ability to make decisions may increase their uptake of maternal health services. They also suggest that policies directed toward improving women's utilization of maternal health services in Pakistan must target men as well as women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Decision Making
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology
  • Maternal Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pakistan / epidemiology
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Women / psychology