Fertility and women’s labour force participation in Lesotho

Ntsoaki Mapetla, University of Cape Town
Tom A. Moultrie, University of Cape Town

Fertility in Lesotho has been declining since the mid-1990s. The observed fertility decline has coincided with shifts in labour force participation patterns where male labour migration to the South African mining industry declined and uptake of female wage employment, especially in the textile sector, in Lesotho increased. This paper investigates the relationship between fertility and women’s labour force participation through an assessment of changes over time in parity progression and birth intervals of working and non-working women. The primary sources of data are the maternity histories of women aged 15-49 derived from the 2004 and 2009 Lesotho Demographic and Health Surveys. Parity progression measures are estimated using the Brass and Juarez (1983) method which is an extension of the life table analysis approach proposed by Rodriguez and Hobcraft (1980). The assessment of birth intervals uses an approach proposed by Aoun (1989) which extends the Brass and Juarez (1983) method to the analysis of birth intervals.

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Presented in Session 54: Fertility, marriage, and women’s labor force participation