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Curse of the Mummy-ji

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Recent research by NU Assistant Professor Catalina Herrera highlights the challenges faced by women in rural India in navigating fertility issues and family planning, including how a mother-in-law restricts women’s  mobility and social networks.

The research is presented in the the working paper, The Influence of Mothers-in-Law on Women’s Social Networks, Mobility, and Reproductive Health in India, co-written with S Anukriti (Boston College), Mahesh Karra (Boston University), and Praveen Pathak (Delhi University).

The fieldwork for this study was primarily supported by a Northeastern University tier-1 grant with supplemental funding from the Human Capital Initiative at the Boston University Global Development Policy Center.

Recently, the research was featured in CNN-18 and live.mint.com.

Excerpt from , “Saas, Bahu and Social Networks: How a Mother-in-law Influences a Rural Indian Woman’s Personal and Family Well-being“, CNN-News 18:

It has some astonishing findings and numbers to show how crucial the role of social bonds is for women to ensure personal and family well-being.

The key findings are: “Besides her husband and mother-in-law (MIL), an average woman interacts with 1.6 individuals in her district about issues that are important to her and with 0.7 individuals in her district about more private matters like reproductive health, fertility, and family planning (close peers). Nearly 36% of women in our sample have no close peers in their district and 22% have no close peers anywhere.”

Excerpt from How mothers-in-law hurt women’s well-being, live mint.com:

The negative influence of mothers-in-law on women changes with the mother-in-law’s views. Mothers-in-law who disapprove of family planning want more children, especially sons, and are likely to restrict their daughters-in-law’s social networks more, the authors suggest.

Published On: December 5, 2019