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The Effect of "Women's Empowerment" on Child Nutritional Status in Pakistan
Authors: Awaisra Shafiq, Abid Hussain, Muhammad Asif, Jinsoo Hwang, Arif Jameel, and Shahida Kanwel
Source: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(22); DOI: 10.3390/ijerph16224499
Topic(s): Child health
Women’s empowerment
Country: Asia
Published: NOV 2019
Abstract: Women's empowerment in terms of both involvements in employment activities and with decision-making about household activities is the most evident factors that can affect the nutritional and health status of their children. This paper investigates the effect of women's empowerment (WE) on children's nutritional (CN) status in Pakistan. The Pakistan demographic health survey (PDHS 2012-13) cross-sectional data was used to analyze the impacts of WE on child malnutrition. The composite index of anthropometric failure (CIAF) was used as a dependent variable to measure the children's nutritional status, and the wealth index household size. The number of children in a house and indicators of women empowerment, which included the mother's education, employment status, and the household decision-making, were used as the independent variables. The method of binary logistic regression with marginal effects was used for the empirical analysis of the results. The results of the study showed the indicators of women's empowerment, such as the education of the mother and employment status had a negative relationship with child malnutrition. Women's decision-making about the visits to family, which is an indicator of WE, had an insignificant effect on CN. Similarly, socioeconomic status, which included the wealth index, also caused a reduction in child malnutrition. In addition, an increase in household size had a positive and significant relation to child malnutrition. Women are the primary caretakers of children in the household, and their intra-household dynamics affect the well-being of individuals. The empowerment of women acts as a means to enhance children's nutritional status, which causes important developmental outcomes. Keywords: Pakistan; child nutrition; the composite index of anthropometric failure (CIAF), socio-economic status; women’s empowerment.