Education and fertility in Egypt: Mediation by women's empowerment.
ABSTRACT: In 2006, fertility in Egypt reached a two-decade low of 3 births per woman; however, by 2008, the demographic transition reversed, and fertility has remained higher at 3.5 births per woman. Low educational achievement is linked to high fertility. Education is also important in the process of women's empowerment, suggesting that educational achievement lowers fertility through gains in women's agency. However, no studies test this pathway, and evidence on the relationship between education and fertility in Middle Eastern settings is limited. Using longitudinal data from the 2006 and 2012 Egyptian Labor Market Panel Survey (ELMPS), a nationally representative sample of households in Egypt, for 4336 married women aged 15-49 years, this study estimates several linear and mediation regression models of number of births and considers whether women's empowerment explains the relationship between education and number of births. Women's empowerment is operationalized through three measures of instrumental agency: individual household decision making, joint household decision making, and mobility and one measure of intrinsic agency-gender beliefs and attitudes. Higher educational achievement has significant adjusted associations with lower fertility. However, measures of women's agency have mixed mediation associations for education and fertility. Greater individual household decision making and belief in egalitarian gender norms partially mediate the relationship between education and fertility, while greater joint decision making suppresses the relationship. Contrary to expectation, women who have more instrumental agency through more individual and joint household decisions have higher fertility than those who make fewer household decisions. However, women who demonstrate intrinsic agency through greater egalitarian gender beliefs have lower fertility than those who believe in inequitable gender norms. Empowerment programs should focus on improvements in women's education and changing women's intrinsic agency in Egypt, to lower fertility.
Project description:Women's empowerment is often used to explain changes in reproductive behavior, but no consideration is given to how reproductive events can shape women's empowerment over time. Fertility may cause changes in women's empowerment, or they may be mutually influencing. Research on women's empowerment and fertility relies on cross-sectional data from South Asia, which limits the understanding of the direction of association between women's empowerment and fertility in other global contexts. This study uses two waves of a panel survey from a prominent Middle Eastern country, Egypt, to examine the trajectory of women's empowerment and the relationship between first and subsequent births and empowerment over time.Using longitudinal data from the 2006 and 2012 Egyptian Labor Market Panel Survey, a nationally representative sample of households in Egypt, for 4660 married women 15 to 49 years old, multilevel negative binomial, ordinary least squares, and logistic regression models estimate women's empowerment and consider whether a first and subsequent births are associated with empowerment later in life. Women's empowerment is operationalized through four measures of agency: individual household decision-making, joint household decision-making, mobility, and financial autonomy.A first birth and subsequent births are significantly positively associated with all measures of empowerment except financial autonomy in 2012. Women who have not had a birth make 30% fewer individual household decisions and 14% fewer joint household decisions in 2012 compared to women with a first birth. There is also a positive relationship with mobility, as women with a first birth have more freedom of movement compared to women with no births. Earlier empowerment is also an important predictor of empowerment later in life.Incorporating the influence of life events like first and subsequent births helps account for the possibility that empowerment is dynamic and that life course experiences shape women's empowerment. This and the notion that empowerment builds over time helps portray women's lives more completely, demonstrates the importance of empowerment early in the life course, and addresses issues of temporality in empowerment fertility research.
Project description:Women's empowerment is associated with improved child nutrition, and both underpin the achievement of multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We examined pathways by which women's empowerment influences child nutritional status. We pooled nationally representative data from Demographic and Health Surveys (2011-2016) collected from married women with children aged 6-24 months in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda (n?=?13,780). We operationalized child nutritional status using anemia, height-for-age z-score (HAZ), and weight-for-age z-score (WHZ). We operationalized women's empowerment using a validated measure comprised of three latent domains: social/human assets ("assets"), intrinsic agency (attitudes about intimate partner violence), and instrumental agency (influence in household decision making). We used structural equation models with latent constructs to estimate hypothesized pathways from women's empowerment to child nutritional status with further mediation by maternal body mass index (BMI) and stratification by wealth. Women's empowerment domains were directly and positively associated with maternal BMI (estimate±SE: assets, 0.17?±?0.03; intrinsic agency, 0.23?±?0.03; instrumental agency, 0.03?±?0.01). Maternal BMI was directly and positively associated with child HAZ (0.08?±?0.04) and child WHZ (0.35?±?0.03). Assets were indirectly associated with child HAZ and WHZ through intrinsic agency and maternal BMI. In the lowest wealth category, the direct effects from women's empowerment to child nutritional status were significant (assets and instrumental agency were associated with anemia; intrinsic agency associated with HAZ). In the highest wealth category, direct effects from women's empowerment on child nutritional status were significant (intrinsic and instrumental agency associated with WHZ). Improving women's empowerment, especially intrinsic agency, in East Africa could improve child nutrition directly and via improved maternal nutrition. These findings suggest that efforts to realize SDG 5 may have spillover effects on other SDGs. However, strategies to improve nutrition through empowerment approaches may need to also address household resource constraints.
Project description:With growing commitment to women's empowerment by agricultural development agencies, sound methods and indicators to measure women's empowerment are needed to learn which types of projects or project-implementation strategies do and do not work to empower women. The Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), which has been widely used, requires adaptation to meet the need for monitoring projects and assessing their impacts. In this paper, the authors describe the adaptation and validation of a project-level WEAI (or pro-WEAI) that agricultural development projects can use to identify key areas of women's (and men's) disempowerment, design appropriate strategies to address identified deficiencies, and monitor project outcomes related to women's empowerment. The 12 pro-WEAI indicators are mapped to three domains: intrinsic agency (power within), instrumental agency (power to), and collective agency (power with). A gender parity index compares the empowerment scores of men and women in the same household. The authors describe the development of pro-WEAI, including: (1) pro-WEAI's distinctiveness from other versions of the WEAI; (2) the process of piloting pro-WEAI in 13 agricultural development projects during the Gender, Agriculture, and Assets Project, phase 2 (GAAP2); (3) analysis of quantitative data from the GAAP2 projects, including intrahousehold patterns of empowerment/disempowerment; and (4) a summary of the findings from the qualitative work exploring concepts of women's empowerment in the project sites. The paper concludes with a discussion of lessons learned from pro-WEAI and possibilities for further development of empowerment metrics.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>There has been a large decline in female genital circumcision (FGC) in Egypt in recent decades. Understanding how this change has occurred so rapidly has been an area of particular interest to policymakers and public health officials alike who seek to further discourage the practice elsewhere.<h4>Methods</h4>We document the trends in this decline in the newest cohorts of young girls and explore the influences of three pathways--socioeconomic development, social media messages, and women's empowerment--for explaining the observed trends. Using the 2005 and 2008 Egypt Demographic and Health Surveys, we estimate several logistic regression models to (1) examine individual and household determinants of circumcision, (2) assess the contributions of different pathways through which these changes may have occurred, and (3) assess the robustness of different pathways when unobserved community differences are taken into account.<h4>Results</h4>Across all communities, socioeconomic status, social media messages, and women's empowerment all have significant independent effects on the risk of circumcision. However, after accounting for unobserved differences across communities, only mother's education and household wealth significantly predict circumcision outcomes. Additional analyses of maternal education suggest that increases in women's education may be causally related to the reduction in FGC prevalence.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Women's empowerment and social media appear to be more important in explaining differences across communities; within communities, socioeconomic status is a key driver of girls' circumcision risk. Further investigation of community-level women's educational attainment for mothers suggests that investments made in female education a generation ago may have had echo effects on girls' FGC risk a generation later.
Project description:Although women's empowerment has gained attention over the last two decades, our understanding of the associations between different dimensions of women's empowerment and different children's health outcomes is limited. This study aims to measure the extent of women's empowerment and to examine its associations with the children's health status in Ethiopia. Data were obtained from the 2016 Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS). The sample is restricted to a sub-sample of 10,641 women from 15 to 49 years old and their children under the age of five years. We used children's height-for-age and weight-for-height Z-scores and pneumonia and anemia experience as indicators of children's health outcome. Women's empowerment is measured by five indices reflecting their participation in decision-making, attitudes towards wife-beating by husband, barriers to health care access, asset ownership, and socio-economic variables. These indicators of empowerment were constructed using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. A Multiple Indicators Multiple Causes (MIMIC) model was employed to examine the relationship between women's empowerment and latent child health outcomes, after controlling for relevant covariates. Results suggests that enhancing women's empowerment in the household in terms of their socio-economic status (i.e., increasing women's access to education, information, media, and promoting saving) was associated with less likelihood of the children's being stunted or wasted (p<0.05). Higher women's empowerment in terms of household decision-making power were also associated with better children's health status measured by the children's experience of pneumonia and anemia (p<0.05). All aspects of women's empowerment are not related with children's health indicators. Women's empowerment dimensions related with child health have a varying degree of association with the different children's health indicators. Gender-specific policies focusing on increasing women's access to education, media, information, and promoting saving and their participation in the household decision making are some of the strategies for improving their children's health and wellbeing.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>In Burkina Faso, gender inequality prevents women from meeting their reproductive needs, leading to high rates of unintended pregnancies, abortions and deaths. Evidence shows that empowering women may increase the proportion of demand for family planning satisfied using modern methods (mDFPS), but few studies have measured this process in multiple spheres of life. We investigated how empowerment influences the mDFPS among married women of reproductive age (MWRA) in Burkina Faso.<h4>Methods</h4>We analyzed data from the 2010 Burkina Faso Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) on 4714 MWRA with reproductive needs living in 573 communities. We used principal component analysis (PCA) and Cronbach's alpha test to explore and assess specific and consistently relevant components of women's agency in marital relationships. Aggregated measures at the cluster level were used to assess gender norms and relationships in communities. Descriptive statistics were performed and multilevel logistic regression models were carried out to concurrently gauge the effects of women's agency and community-level of gender equality on mDFPS, controlling for socioeconomic factors.<h4>Results</h4>Overall, less than one-third (30.8%) of the demand for family planning among MWRA were satisfied with modern methods. Participation in household decision-making, freedom in accessing healthcare, and opposition to domestic violence were underlying components of women's agency in marital relationships. In the full model adjusted for socioeconomic status, freedom in accessing healthcare was significantly (aOR 1.27, CI 1.06-1.51) associated with mDFPS. For community-level variables, women's greater access to assets (aOR 1.72, 95% CI 1.13-2.61) and family planning messages (aOR 2.68, 95% CI 1.64-4.36) increased mDFPS, while higher fertility expectations (aOR 0.75, 95% CI 0.64-0.87) reduced it. Unexpectedly, women in communities with higher rates of female genital mutilation were more likely (aOR 2.46, 95% CI 1.52-3.99) to have mDFPS.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Empowering women has the potential to reduce gender inequality, raise women's agency and increase mDFPS. This influence may occur through both balanced marital relationships and fair community gender norms and relationships. Progress toward universal access to reproductive services should integrate the promotion of women's rights.<h4>Trial registration</h4>No clinical trial has been performed in this study.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>Women's empowerment and its association with fertility preference are vital for central-level promotional health policy strategies. This study examines the association between women's empowerment and fertility decision-making in low and middle resource countries (LMRCs).<h4>Design</h4>This cross-sectional study uses the Demographic and Health Survey database.<h4>Settings</h4>53 LMRCs from six different regions for the period ranging from 2006 to 2018.<h4>Participants</h4>The data of women-only aged 35 years and above is used as a unit of analysis. The final sample consists of 91 070 married women.<h4>Methods</h4>We considered two outcome variables: women's perceived ideal number of children and their ability to achieve preferred fertility desire and the association with women empowerment. Women empowerment was measured by their participation in household decision-making and attitude towards wife-beating. The negative binomial regression model was used to assess women's perceived ideal number of children, and multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate women's ability to achieve their preferred fertility desire.<h4>Results</h4>Our study found that empowered women have a relatively low ideal number of children irrespective of the measures used to assess women empowerment. In this study, the measures were participation in household decision-making (incidence rate ratio (IRR): 0.92, 95% CI: 0.91 to 0.93) and attitude towards wife-beating (IRR: 0.96, 95% CI: 0.95 to 0.97). In the LMRCs, household decision-making and negative attitude towards wife-beating have been found associated with 1.12 and 1.08 times greater odds of having more than their ideal number of children.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Our findings suggest that women's perceived fertility desire can be achieved by enhancing their empowerment. Therefore, a modified community-based family planning programme at the national level is required, highlighting the importance of women's empowerment on reproductive healthcare as a part of the mission to assist women and couples to have only the number of children they desire.
Project description:Women's empowerment has a great influence on health, nutrition, education, and the overall well-being of societies as well as of the children and households. This study investigates the effect of women's empowerment on poverty reduction and focuses on household deprivation, in terms of education, health, and standard of living. Primary data was collected from 914 married women from rural areas of Bangladesh using a well-structured questionnaire and a random sampling technique. Descriptive statistics, logistic regression, and ordinary least squares models were used in this study. The results indicate that increased women's access to education, asset ownership, decision-making power on children's health and education, and access to medical facilities, have caused a significant decline in income poverty and multidimensional poverty. However, gender violence, taking resources against women's will, and preventing women from working outside, have caused a considerable decline in per capita income and an increase in income poverty and multidimensional poverty. Overall, it is found that women's empowerment has a great impact on the reduction of income poverty and multidimensional poverty in society. The findings of the study can assist and guide policymakers to initiate appropriate strategies for women's empowerment to reducing poverty in Bangladesh while making progress towards other social and developmental goals.
Project description:A significant body of multi-disciplinary research supports the proposition that women may experience empowerment from microfinance programs. This is based on the assumption that an increase in women's financial contribution to the household helps to transform gender norms and relations which increases their decision-making power. However, the relationship between the strength and persistence of patriarchal gender norms within the household and women's financial empowerment needs further exploration. This paper presents the findings of a mixed-method study comprising 331 surveys and 33 in-depth interviews with women receiving microfinance and their husbands in a southern sub-district of Bangladesh; it draws upon gender socialisation and gender performance theory to understand how patriarchal gender norms influence women's financial empowerment in households receiving microfinance. Findings demonstrate that participation in microfinance programs has not shifted gender norms, nor financially empowered women. Women's loans were largely controlled by men as prescribed by underlying, unchanged patriarchal gender norms. The inter-generational reproduction of patriarchal gender relations continued to reproduce a strict gendered division of labour that reinforced restrictions on women's behaviour, mobility, and decision-making domains, and men's dominance in household and economic decision-making.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Persistent low rates of spacing contraceptive use among young wives in rural India have been implicated in ongoing negative maternal, infant and child health outcomes throughout the country. Gender inequity has been found to consistently predict low rates of contraception. An issue around contraceptive reporting however is that when reporting on contraceptive use, spouses in rural India often provide discordant reports. While discordant reports of contraceptive use potentially impede promotion of contraceptive use, little research has investigated the predictors of discordant reporting. METHODS:Using data we collected from 867 couples in rural Maharashtra India as part of a men-focused family planning randomized controlled trial. We categorized couples on discordance of men's and women's reports of current contraceptive use, communication with their spouse regarding contraception, and ideal family size, and assessed the levels of discordance for each category. We then ran multinomial regression analyses to determine predictors of discordance categories with a focus on women's empowerment (household and fertility decision-making, women's education, and women's knowledge of contraception). RESULTS:When individuals reported communicating about contraception and their spouses did not, those individuals were also more likely to report using contraception when their spouses did not. Women's empowerment was higher in couples in which both couples reported contraception communication or use or in couples in which only wives reported contraception communication or use. There were couple-level characteristics that predicted husbands reporting either contraception use or contraception communication when their wives did not: husband's education, husband's familiarity with contraception, and number of children. CONCLUSIONS:Overall there were clear patterns to differential reporting. Associations with women's empowerment and contraceptive communication and use suggest a strategy of women's empowerment to improve reproductive health. Discordant women-only reports suggest that even when programs interact with empowered women, the inclusion of husbands is essential. Husband-only discordant reports highlight the characteristics of men who may be more receptive to family planning messages than are their wives. Family planning programs may be most effective when working with couples rather than just with women, and should focus on improving communication between couples, and supporting them in achieving concordance in their reproductive preferences. TRIAL REGISTRATION:Clinical Trials Number: NCT01593943 , registered May 4, 2012 at clinicaltrials.gov.