Abstract

In this article, I evaluate the hypothesis that higher infant and child mortality among Muslim populations is related to the lower autonomy of Muslim women using data from 15 pairs of Muslim and non-Muslim communities in India, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. Women’s autonomy in various spheres is not consistently lower in Muslim than in non-Muslim settings. Both across and within communities, the association between women’s autonomy and mortality is weak, and measures of autonomy or socioeconomic status are generally of limited import for understanding the Muslim disadvantage in children’s survival.

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