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Cultural norms and women’s health: Implications of the practice of menstrual restrictions in Nepal

Rahul Kumar and Bipasha Maity

World Development Perspectives, 2022, vol. 27, issue C

Abstract: We study the association between the ritual of menstrual restrictions and maternal healthcare access in Nepal as similar restrictions are also practised around the time of childbirth. These restrictions are based on the assumption that women are ritually impure during both menstruation and childbirth. Our outcomes of interest include the likelihood of giving birth at home and receiving no trained medical assistance at childbirth. We use a rich set of controls as well as assess the sensitivity of our results to alternative estimation methods. We find that women who face any menstrual restriction are also more likely to give birth at home and receive assistance only from untrained individuals during childbirth, which potentially increases the risk of maternal mortality. These findings indicate that menstrual restriction related rituals can have persistent negative implications on women’s physical health that is not just limited to the time of menstruation.

Keywords: Menstruation; Culture; Maternal healthcare access; Women; Nepal (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I14 I15 J16 Z12 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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Working Paper: Cultural Norms and Women's Health: Implications of the Practice of Menstrual Restrictions in Nepal (2021) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1016/j.wdp.2022.100450

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