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Does Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Matter for Children’s Health Status? Insights from Northern Ghana

Yacob A. Zereyesus (), Vincent Amanor-Boadu (), Kara L. Ross () and Aleksan Shanoyan ()
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Yacob A. Zereyesus: Kansas State University
Kara L. Ross: Kansas State University
Aleksan Shanoyan: Kansas State University

Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, 2017, vol. 132, issue 3, 1265-1280

Abstract: Abstract Given that women in rural communities in developing countries are responsible for the nutrition and health-related decisions affecting children in their care, their empowerment may influence the health status of their children. The association between women’s empowerment, measured by using a recently developed Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index, and children’s health status is examined for a sample of households in Northern Ghana applying a Multiple Indicators Multiple Causes (MIMIC) model. The MIMIC approach is used to link multiple indicator variables with multiple independent variables through a “single underlying” latent variable. Height-for-age and weight-for-height z-scores are used as indicators of the underlying children’s health status and women’s empowerment in agriculture and control variables are used as the multiple independent variables. Our results show that neither the composite empowerment score used to capture women’s empowerment in agriculture nor its decomposed components are statistically significant in their association with the latent children’s health status. However, the associations between children’s health status and control variables such as mother’s education, child’s age, household’s hunger scale and residence locale are statistically significant. Results also confirm the existence of the ‘single underlying’ common latent variable. Of the two health status indicators, height-for-age scores and weight-for- height scores, the former exhibited a relatively stronger association with the latent health status. While promoting women’s empowerment to enhance their ability to make strategic life choices, it is important to carefully consider how the achievement of these objectives will impact the women’s well-being and the well-being of the children in their care.

Keywords: Women’s empowerment in agriculture; Latent variable; Height-for-age; Weight-for-height; MIMIC (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:132:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1328-z