GenderStats 12: More women participate in household decisions

25 March 2022 | Gender, NFHS, States

Figure 1

Figure 2

How empowered are married women in India? One way to find out is to check their involvement in household decision-making. National Family Health Surveys tell us this with the help of data related to the percentage of currently married women who participate in three household decisions.

According to NFHS, these are “decisions about health care for herself, making major household purchases, and visits to her family or relatives”.

Figure 1 shows us the state-wise percentage of married women who participate in three household decisions, as per NFHS-4 in 2015-16, while Figure 2 shows us the same data, as per NFHS-5 (2019-21).

84 percent of married women across the country participated in at least three household decisions, as per NFHS-4. This increased to 88.7 percent, as per NFHS-5.

When we hover over any state in Figure 1 or 2, we can see the percentage of women who participated in three or more household decisions in that state along with the national percentage.

As per NFHS-4 (Figure 1), the lowest percentage of married women participating in household decisions was seen in the National Capital Territory of Delhi at 73.8 percent, followed by Bihar and Haryana at 75.2 and 76.7 percent respectively. The highest percentage was seen in Nagaland at 97.4 percent followed by Manipur at 96.2 percent. Among larger states, Kerala (92.1 percent), Chhattisgarh (90.5 percent), Himachal Pradesh (90.8 percent), and Punjab (90.2 percent) were the only states where more than 90 percent women participated in household decisions, as per NFHS-4.

In NFHS-5 (Figure 2), Ladakh had the lowest percentage of women participating in household decisions at 80.4 percent, followed by Jammu and Kashmir at 81.6 percent. Only Karnataka (82.7 percent), and Andhra Pradesh (84.1 percent) were the other two states where the percentage of women participating in household decisions was less than 85 percent. The highest percentage was once again seen in Nagaland at 99.1 percent followed by Mizoram at 98.8 percent. Among larger states, Kerala had the highest percentage at 94.1 percent.

Overall, we see an improvement in women’s participation in household decisions across all the states, between 2015-16 and 2019-21. Women are far from equal partners to men, but the upward trend in decision-making is in the right direction.

“GenderStats by CEDA” is a new series by the Centre for Economic Data and Analysis on the Picture This page. With the help of graphs, we will highlight the socio-economic and health status of Indian women and help understand their position vis-à-vis Indian men and other women in the rest of the world. If you have a suggestion for us or if there is an indicator that you would like us to focus on, please write to us at ceda@ashoka.edu.in

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