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Supporting policy with scientific evidence

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Publication | 2020

Do tradeoffs among dimensions of women’s empowerment and nutrition outcomes exist? Evidence from six countries in Africa and Asia

Although women’s empowerment and gender equality are often linked with better maternal and child nutrition outcomes, recent systematic reviews find inconclusive evidence. This paper applies a comparable methodology to data on the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), an internationally-validated measure based on interviews of women and men within the same household, from six countries in Africa and Asia to identify which dimensions of women’s empowerment are related to household-, woman-, and child-level dietary and nutrition outcomes. We examine relationships between women’s empowerment and household-level dietary diversity; women’s dietary diversity and BMI; and child-related outcomes, controlling for woman, child, and household characteristics. We also test for differential associations of women’s empowerment with nutrition outcomes for boys and girls. We find few significant associations between the aggregate empowerment scores and nutritional outcomes.