BACKGROUND: Women's decision-making autonomy in developing settings has been shown to improve child survival and health outcomes. However, little research has addressed possible connections between women's autonomy and children's schooling. OBJECTIVE: To examine the relationship between rural women's decision-making autonomy and enrollment status of primary school-age children living in their households and how this relationship differs by child's gender. METHODS: The analysis uses data from a 2009 survey of rural households in four districts of Gaza province in southern Mozambique. Multilevel logistic models predict the probability of being in school for children between 6 and 14 years old. RESULTS: The results show a positive association of women's decision-making autonomy with the probability of being enrolled in primary school for daughters, but not for sons. The effect of women's autonomy is net of other women's characteristics typically associated with enrollment and does not mediate the effects of those characteristics. CONCLUSIONS: Based on the results, we argue that women with higher levels of decision-making autonomy may have a stronger preference for daughters' schooling and may have a greater say in making and implementing decisions regarding daughters' education, compared to women with lower autonomy levels. Results also illustrate a need for considering a broader set of autonomy-related characteristics when examining the effects of women's status on children's educational outcomes.
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