Understanding the Link between Nutritional Status and Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture: Evidence from Ghana

Hazel Malapit, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Agnes R. Quisumbing, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

This paper investigates linkages between women’s empowerment in agriculture and the nutritional status of women and children using 2012 baseline data from the Feed the Future population-based survey in Northern Ghana. Using a new survey-based index, the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index, we conduct individual-level analyses of nutrition-related indicators including exclusive breastfeeding, children’s dietary diversity score, minimum dietary diversity and minimum acceptable diet, children’s height-for-age, weight-for-height, and weight-for-age z-scores, and women’s dietary diversity score and body mass index. Results suggest that women’s empowerment is more strongly associated with the quality of infant and young child feeding practices and only weakly associated with child nutrition status. Women’s empowerment in credit decisions is positively and significantly correlated with women’s dietary diversity, but not body mass index. This suggests that improved nutritional status is not necessarily correlated with empowerment across all domains, and that these domains may have different impacts on nutrition.

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Presented in Session 137: Women's Empowerment and Child Education, Health, and Well-Being