“Sterilizations and women disempowerment in India”

Fertility practices in India raise critical issues. A fifth of the Indian women are sterilized and little is known on whether these practices are chosen or endured by women. Sterilizations might be driven by poverty, by an adverse economic shock, and women may accept to get sterilized only because they receive a payment if they do so. Women may undergo sterilizations because they are disempowered by long lasting stigmas, as fertility has always meant humiliation and exclusion. Such hypotheses would strongly call for a redefinition of the policies associated with women fertility choices, and thus defines urgent questions to investigate. This project aims at analyzing sterilization policies, and will shed lights on factors weighing upon women fertility decisions. It will do so mostly through two channels. First, the team will conduct an ambitious fieldwork, which will include original dimensions and allow the investigation of new research questions. Second, the team will provide three working papers, which will explore the political economy of sterilization policies, the individual decision of sterilization, and its consequences. We aim to provide an economic analysis of the sterilization policies, drawing on contributions and approaches offered by both other social sciences and medicine.

Prof. Christelle Dumas

Prof. Rohini Somanathan