Abstract: Women's Lifestyles, Empowerment, and Maternal Health in Rajasthan, India


The original proposal was to study maternal health in Rajasthan, India with the goal of identifying community assets that could be utilized in empowering women to have better maternal health outcomes. This project was to be completed with the support of a local non-governmental organization (NGO), Jatan Sansthan, an NGO in Rajasthan that does social work in a variety of areas, including maternal health (1). It was expected that Jatan Sansthan would place the researcher in their maternal health program to connect the researcher with the community with whom the research would be done. Community-based research methods such as working with the community, conducting interviews, and having discussions together to identify needs and solutions, were going to be employed in this study because this kind of methodology actively engages the community to provide a bigger picture of what is going on (2). A few conclusions that were anticipated from this study were a lack of proper medical resources and facilities, which played a part in poor maternal health outcomes. Additionally, it was expected that the health of the women may not be prioritized in this society with deeply rooted patriarchal ideas and gender-based discrimination as seen in the historical preference for a male child coupled with female feticide practices. 

The project was completed with 14 individual interviews with women who were pregnant at the time of the interview or had previously been pregnant. These interviews took places across three anganwadi centers in three different villages: Bagpura, Rajawas, and Amloi. There were two group discussions as well. From speaking with maternal health experts and health practitioners, making observations, conducting interviews with women, and having group discussions, it seemed that women faced challenges at different levels such as within their relationships with their husbands to the government hospitals to the infrastructure. Policies are in place to improve maternal outcomes, but better implementation is needed. Health workshops can be used to educate and empower the women as well as continue to work with them to develop more sustainable solutions to better maternal health. 

1. "Vision and Mission." Jatan Sansthan – Working with Young People. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.

2. Rabinowitz, Phil. "Section 2. Community-based Participatory Research."Community Tool Box. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2016.