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Gender-based violence as a new proximate determinant of fertility in sub-Saharan Africa
Authors: Clifford Odimegwu, Olusina S. Bamiwuye, and Sunday A. Adedini
Source: Southern African Journal of Demography, 16(1): 87-120
Topic(s): Fertility
Gender-based violence (GBV)
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: JUN 2015
Abstract: Fertility remains at high level in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) despite different programmes and policies aimed at achieving considerable fertility reduction in the region. This suggests the presence of preponderance of factors sustaining a high fertility regime in SSA. Hence, this paper investigates whether women’s experience of domestic violence is one of those factors influencing high fertility behaviour in SSA. We used data from the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) of three countries selected on the basis of geographical differences, the high level of fertility, and the availability of nationally representative and comparable data – 2012 Gabon DHS, 2008 Nigeria DHS and 2007 Zambia DHS. Weighted samples of 2 940 currently married women in Gabon, 15 852 in Nigeria and 3 253 in Zambia were analysed. Descriptive and inferential statistics, including independent t-test and Poisson regression were employed in data analysis. Findings support our hypothesis that fertility is higher among women who had experienced domestic violence than those who did not. Results from Poisson regression showed that higher fertility is associated with experience of any form of violence in two of the three selected countries, even after controlling for background variables. The study concluded that policies and programmes targeted at regulating the persistently high fertility in sub-Saharan Africa should give special attention to societal values and norms on gender inequality that fuel violence against women in sub-Saharan Africa. Key words: Gender-based violence; women; gender i equality; proximate determinant; fertility change; sub-Saharan Africa