The Geography of Women's Empowerment and Gender Inequality in Burkina Faso

Jacqueline L. Banks, University of California, Santa Barbara
Stuart H. Sweeney, University of California, Santa Barbara

With the expansion of women's educational and employment opportunities, gender dynamics are undergoing important change in Burkina Faso. The purpose of this study is to investigate the role of cultural geography in women’s empowerment and gender equality in Burkina Faso. This is done first through an operationalization of women’s empowerment and gender equality that establishes clear definitions of concepts. We then posit a strategy for measuring these concepts with appropriate indicators using widely available Demographic and Health Survey data. Finally we investigate the relationship between women’s empowerment, gender equality, and geographic region using generalized linear models that account for a range of specific demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Our results indicate that cultural region is a statistically significant factor in the likelihood than a woman will participate in household decision-making or be in an unequal relationship with her husband or partner even when other determinants of local culture are accounted for.

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 Presented in Session P8. Economy, Labor Force, Education, and Inequality/Gender, Race and Ethnicity