Muhammad Ashraf Chaudhry, Shamim Irshad.
Effects of female literacy on family size.
Pak J Med Res Jan ;48(1):3-7.
Background: Education may indirectly lead to wider use of contraceptives and reduction in fertility. Female education reduces her vulnerability to unwanted pregnancies as a result of increased age at first marriage, being more aware of available contraceptive methods and by limiting family size. Objectives: To determine the effects of female literacy on family size and ascertain indirect effects of education on age at marriage, desired family size, use and knowledge of contraception and female autonomy. Methods: This cross-sectional study was carried out in 2005 and included 150 females from Outpatient Department of Combined Military Hospital and Military Hospital, Rawalpindi. The inclusion criteria was married females having children while educational status was an independent variable. Data was collected through convenience sampling using a questionnaire and was analysed using SPSS version 11. Results: A total of 150 women were selected for the study, their marriage age ranged from 11-35 years. Forty two were uneducated and rest had some degree of education. Out of the total, 125 were using contraceptives. One hundred and thirty (87%) females desired small family and the fertility gap was higher in educated females. One hundred and thirty (87%) had knowledge of family planning with media being the strongest source of dissemination of information. One hundred and thirty-six (91%) females favored education of girl child. About 82% educated females had a small family with 3 or less children while only 18% had 4 or more children. Only 4 (10%) uneducated females had small family and rest 38 (90%) had a large family size. Conclusion: Educated women have fewer children, are more likely to use contraception and marry later. Improving educational status of women seems to be a cost effective intervention for controlling population growth in developing countries like Pakistan.
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