THE PAKISTAN DEVELOPMENT REVIEW
An Attempt to Measure Female Status in Pakistan and its Impact on Reproductive Behaviour
Growing concern about increase in female literacy and improvement in their socio-economic conditions is an offshoot of the growing awareness and concern about the population problem among planners and policy-makers. The explosive rate of population growth is a major obstacle to achieving a better quality of life for the majority of the populace in Pakistan. An uplift in the status of females through increased educational and employment opportunities lead to fertility decline. Several studies have been conducted in past decades to study the indicators of female status and its impact on fertility in Pakistan. Female education has been conventionally considered as an indicator of female status. There is a consensus in terms of the inverse relationship between female education and fertility that education, even upto primary level, does lead to fertility decline. Most population programmes in developing countries advocate in favour offemale literacy. The impact of female employment on fertility is however, not very clear in case of Pakistan [Sathar (1989)]. The findings of her study indicate that employment influenced fertility negatively in the case of women in higher status and positively in the case of lower status occupations. In the case of poorer women, the lack of a negative association between employment and fertility may be due to the fact that these women already had a large number of children before starting work.