For better or for worse? Women's autonomy and marital status in Zimbabwe

Michelle J. Hindin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This article explores the nature of women's autonomy in household decision making using data from the 1994 Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey. Using multivariate regression techniques, I compare women's autonomy across marital status, age at marriage, and duration of marriage, with particular attention to social context. Contrary to expectations, most women do not experience complete male domination of household decisions. Older single, divorced, and widowed women have a substantial amount of sole decision-making autonomy, while married women have input through joint decision making. Regardless of marital status, women who live with their parents are often not even consulted in major household decisions. This study shows that in Zimbabwe, marital status is a key predictor of decision making and that women may have incentives to alter their marital status to improve their degree of control over their lives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-172
Number of pages22
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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