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Women's Autonomy and the Nutritional Status of Children in India

India has one of the highest rates of malnutrition among children. The burden of malnutrition is unevenly borne by the poorer and disadvantaged sections of society. Efforts at reducing the burden of malnutrition would therefore go a long way in ensuring that the fruits of development are more evenly shared, not only across the society but also across generations and hence would greatly reduce social inequalities in the long term.

Previous studies have shown that a major factor behind the South Asian Enigma is the low status of women and the persistence of gender inequality in these countries. One of the manifestations of the gender inequality is seen in the lack of women's autonomy. However there is hardly any evidence based research on India to support this hypothesis. 

The objective of this project is to address this lacuna. The project will use data drawn from the third round of the National Family Health Survey which collected detailed health and anthropometric information on 111,781 women and 70,130 men aged 15-54 as well as on 46,655 children born in the last five years preceding the survey.  Multilevel structural equation modelling technique will be used to address this issue.