What is the Effect of Garment Work on Women's Health and Empowerment in India? An Analysis of India's National Family Health Surveys
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Evidence suggests that employment for women can reduce poverty and inequality resulting in improved living standards. The garment industry is an important source of income for Indian women. This thesis tested the effects of garment work as an income source on women’s health-care utilization practices and decision-making in comparison to both agricultural labourers and general women in India. Cross-sectional data collected from India’s National Family Health Survey-3 was used to generate descriptive statistics. Statistical modeling was used to test the effect of garment work on a) barriers to health care services and b) decision-making abilities of Indian women. Results suggest garment workers are younger, more educated, urban, and wealthier, make more cash earnings, and have more access and control over their own money as compared to agricultural labourers. Results indicate female garment workers report facing fewer barriers to accessing health care services. As well, access to cash earnings increases their decision-making abilities.