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THE PAKISTAN DEVELOPMENT REVIEW
Alia Ahmad. Women and Fertility in Bangladesh. New Delhi: Sage Publications. 1991. 184 pp.Price: Indian Rs 185.
A book on the relationship between the status of women and fertility, Ahmad’s study is based on the available literature on the subject as well as empirical findings from a small group of women in two villages and Dhaka city in Bangladesh. The book comprises eight chapters, out of which the first four are devoted to a review of earlier studies and description of macro-level information on the determination of women’s status and fertility in traditional societies, including Bangladesh. Then, based on the information collected from 58 rural and 20 urban women, the next three chapters present empirical results on the status of women in the context of their perceptions about the value of children, the demand for children and the costs of fertility regulation. Each chapter, with a summary at the end, provides a variety of arguments and some evidence on those aspects of women’s status in Bangladesh which are an outcome of the social and economic processes that tend to perpetuate insecurity among a majority of women. The insecurity is regarded as conducive to the high demand for children and preference for sons. The book, thus, is not only a good source of information on theoretical linkages between women’s status and fertility but also provides some evidence on the related issues in the context of Bangladeshi society.
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