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Measuring Women's Empowerment at Household Level Using DHS Data of Four Southeast Asian Countries
Authors: Phan, Ly
Source: Social Indicators Research, 126(1): 359–378; DOI: 10.1007/s11205-015-0876-y
Topic(s): Women’s empowerment
Country: Asia
  Multiple Asian Countries
Published: MAR 2016
Abstract: Women’s empowerment is important indicator for social development, yet there has not been a practical index on women’s empowerment at household level, especially for developing countries. Previous studies have suggested a theoretical framework of four components of women’s empowerment at household level: women’s labor force participation, women’s household decision-making, women’s use of contraception and women’s education. In this study, a measurement of women’s empowerment is developed using principal axis factoring with micro data from the Demographic and Health Surveys on four Southeast Asia countries including Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines and Timor-Leste. The results has consistently found three factors including women’s labor force participation, women’s education and women’s household decision-making that affect individual women’s empowerment. Nevertheless, despite the literature suggested by other studies, very little evidence was found to support family planning use as one of the components of women’s empowerment in these countries. The new measurement also provides a solution for the problem of lacking household level data in current indices. More importantly, the construction of the measurement is practically applicable in more than 90 developing countries where the Demographic and Health Surveys are available.