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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Female Reproductive Autonomy in Honduras: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Associated Factors in the Early 21st Century


The presence of female reproductive autonomy, or the ability for a woman to make a well-informed decision, independently or with limited input from partners, about the number, spacing and timing of her children is a key determinant of female empowerment and independence. Understanding the intensity of a woman's reproductive role, and the entrenched social, physical and mental implications that underlie it, is key to bringing about gender equity. This study utilizes Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) collected between 2005-2006 and 2011-2012 to draw attention to the factors associated with reproductive autonomy as they relate specifically to women in Honduras. Results from the longitudinal analysis, using logistic regression tests, reveal the predicted association between reproductive resources such as sexual education and contraceptives as well as social autonomy. Ultimately, higher rates of formal education are likely associated with key reproductive autonomy indicators such as desire for last birth, knowledge of the fertility period and independent decision-making around contraceptive use. Sexual health programs can coincide with increasing formal education resources. Implementing such programs in the later years of primary schools can facilitate an increase in sexual autonomy and health knowledge outcomes such as fertility knowledge.

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