On average, the women were 27 years old and had had three children.
Thirty-five percent had had no schooling, 44% a primary education and 20% a secondary or higher level of schooling; 22% worked for pay, and 53% reported a Mayan mother tongue.
In the analysts' view, their findings yield important lessons about the role of men in decision making and in couples' health behavior.Belizeans affectionately refer to their country as "the Jewel." The formation of a consciousness of a national culture coincided with the growth of the nationalist movement in the 1950s toward independence.It was a phenomenon that occurred simultaneously among neighboring British West Indian colonies.Sole decision making by the wife was rarely reported by either spouse, but for each situation, about one-third of couples agreed that the husband made the decision alone.Couples' level of agreement about who made final decisions was high (64–74%).The survey, undertaken to measure the impact of the national Maternal and Neonatal Health Program, was conducted in three departments of western Guatemala.Interviewers surveyed all women aged 15–49 in selected households who were pregnant or had given birth in the previous 12 months, as well as the husbands of female respondents in every other household.They observe that because spouses do not always agree on the wife's role in decision making, "to understand couple dynamics regarding household decisions, men need to be interviewed." Nevertheless, they conclude, the finding that couples often agreed that the husband was the main decision maker "can help program planners working on maternal health to include men as targets for maternal health interventions."—D. Becker S, Fonseca-Becker F and Schench-Yglesias C, Husbands' and wives' reports of women's decision- making power in western Guatemala and their effects on preventive health behaviors, Social Science & Medicine, 2006, 62(9):2313–2326. Previously called British Honduras, the country now known as Belize derives its name from one of two historical sources: Maya root words or the surname of the Scottish buccaneer Peter Wallace, who maintained a camp near present-day Belize City in the seventeenth century.By contrast, the more a man feels that his wife plays a role in household decision making, the less likely she is to have delivered in a health facility.These findings, along with other results from a 2003 household survey, provide insight both into women's decision-making power in this part of Latin America and into the importance of including men in studies of relationships between couple dynamics and preventive health behaviors.