Gender empowerment in the context of the HIV/AIDS epidemic; married women and their strategies of protection

Kim Deslandes, Université de Montréal

For over twenty years of research on women’s roles in development, we know that women have less access to and control over productive resources than men. Little attention has been given to the interaction between perception of individual autonomy and individual HIV risk, and their impact on AIDS-related behaviors. Yet it has been shown that men and women develop strategies of behavior on the basis of their perception of infection risks. The goal of this paper is to measure the extent to which self-perception of autonomy shapes married women’s response to HIV/AIDS-related protective behavior within their marriage. We choose to observe the relationship of faithfulness as the most accessible way to protect within marriage and autonomy. To explore these ideas, we will use data from the Malawi Diffusion and Ideational Change Project, a longitudinal survey on the role of social networks in changing attitudes and behavior regarding HIV/AIDS in Malawi.

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Presented in Session 56: Socio-Cultural Context of Reproductive Health (1)