Accepted Paper:

has pdf download Low socio-economic development vis-à-vis high infant mortality: role of women autonomy among the Ladiya population of Central India   


Dipak Adak (Anthropological Survey of India)

Paper short abstract:

SHORT ABSTRACT: Infant mortality studied in a depressed class Ladiya of central India in terms of socio-economic development and women's autonomy. Ladiya mothers with high level of autonomy experienced low incidence of infant deaths and with low autonomy high incidence of infant deaths.

Paper long abstract:

Infant mortality is considered as a marker of socio-economic development of a nation. The Ladiya, an offshoot of a scheduled caste of Central India has been studied. Rate of infant mortality indicates a very high level (110 per 1000 live births) among them. Living condition of the studied population is deplorable, characterized with marked poverty, lack of sewage and housing which consisted mostly of one or two living rooms per household. A high per cent of the womenfolk among them are illiterate (71.57). The mothers in the present study are found to opt for frequent child bearing in order to make up the loss, despite the consequent risk of their health as well as survival.

Ladiya mothers who enjoyed high level of autonomy in family decision-making experienced relatively low incidence of infant deaths (14.2%). Incidence of infant deaths is highest (29.8%) among the respondents who have negligible importance in the process of family-decision making. However, slight improvement (moderate level of autonomy) in women's position is found to have considerable effect in declining the incidence of infant deaths. Thus it infer that efforts to be made to improve Ladiya women's level of educational attainment and raising their active participation in economic activities for better employment. This, in turn, will help them to have more autonomy in decision making to overcome the high infant mortality rate, which determines life expectancy of children surviving and hence birth rate as well as natural growth rate of population too.

Panel BH10
Development of the underdeveloped