Reproductive rights approach to reproductive health in developing countries
Pillai, Vijayan K.
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Research on reproductive health in developing countries focuses mostly on the role of economic development on various components of reproductive health. Cross-sectional and empirical research studies in particular on the effects of non-economic factors such as reproductive rights remain few and far between. Objective: This study investigates the influence of two components of an empowerment strategy, gender equality, and reproductive rights on women’s reproductive health in developing countries. The empowerment strategy for improving reproductive health is theoretically situated on a number of background factors such as economic and social development. Design: Cross-national socioeconomic and demographic data from a number of international organizations on 142 developing countries are used to test a model of reproductive rights and reproductive health. Results: The findings suggest that both economic and democratic development have significant positive effects on levels of gender equality. The level of social development plays a prominent role in promoting reproductive rights. It is found that reproductive rights channel the influences of social structural factors and gender equality on reproductive health.