Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture and Nutritional Outcomes in Ethiopia
Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture and
Nutritional Outcomes in Ethiopia
Fanaye Tadesse and Feiruz Yimer
19th Annual Conference of the African Region Chapter of the Econometric Society
12th International Conference on the Ethiopian Economy
July 16-19, 2014
• Intra-household resource allocation has a considerable role to play in
• The extent to which women have access to and control over resources
largely determines the kind of care they provide for their children.
• lack of control over household resources, time, knowledge, and social
support networks -> poor nutritional outcomes.
• Empirical researches have also shown that women’s greater control in
household has an impact on the nutritional and educational outcomes
• These linkages are complex, and the direction of relationship between
women’s status and nutrition are not straight forward.
• For instance, women’s empowerment through engaging in agriculture or
other paid work
could reduce the amount of time available for them to take care of
themselves as well as their children.
Positive income effect
• Measuring women’s empowerment is not straight forward.
• Quantifying the linkages between women’s empowerment and nutritional
outcomes depends on the measurement of empowerment.
• This research aims at looking into the relationship between women’s
empowerment and nutritional outcomes of both women and children
in the rural Ethiopia context
• Using a recently developed measure of women empowerment called
Women Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI).
• Outcome variables
• Children’s nutritional outcomes (stunting, wasting,
• Women’s nutritional outcomes (BMI and Dietary Diversity)
• Data from a baseline survey conducted for the evaluation of the FtF
program in Ethiopia, the US government global hunger and food
• Collected from 5 regions of the country and comprises of 7,056
households from 84 woredas (districts).
• Data collection took place in June 2013.
• The questionnaire used for the survey includes modules on
• basic demographic information; household consumption expenditure; Women
empowerment indicators; women dietary diversity and anthropometry; child
anthropometry and infant and young child feeding; employment, agricultural
productivity and input use; and other relevant information.
• To examine the relationship between women’s empowerment in agriculture
and mothers and children nutritional outcomes, we estimate the following
𝑌 = 𝑏0 + 𝑏1 𝑒𝑚𝑝𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 + 𝑏3 𝐼 + 𝑏4 𝐻 + 𝜀
Where Y - vector of women and child nutritional outcomes.
I - vector of individual characteristics,
H - household characteristics and
𝜀 - the error term.
• Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI)
• Developed by researchers at USAID, IFPRI, and the Oxford Poverty and
Human Development Initiative (OPHI)
• Measures the empowerment, agency and inclusion of women in the
• Composed of two sub-indexes: the Five Domains of Empowerment sub-
index (5DE) and the Gender Parity sub-Index (GPI)
• Five Domains of Empowerment (5DE) measures the empowerment of
women in five areas (90 percent of the total WEAI); and
• The Gender Parity Index (GPI) measures the average level of equality in
empowerment of men and women within the household (10 percent of the
Methodology - Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index
• The five domains, their definitions under the WEAI, the corresponding
indicators, and their weights for the 5DE are:
Domain(each weighted 1/5 of
Input in productive decisions 1/10
Autonomy in production 1/10
Ownership of assets 1/15
Purchase, sale, or transfer of assets 1/15
Access to and decisions about credit 1/15
Income Control over use of income 1/15
Group member 1/10
Speaking in public 1/10
Methodology (Cont.) WEAI Components
• How empowered are Ethiopian women in Agriculture?
• The female respondent’s individual-level 5DE profile or score (weighted
average of the 10 indicators)
• The average 5DE score is 0.64
A lower level of empowerment in agriculture for Ethiopian women
compared with women in Bangladesh (0.75), Guatemala (0.69) and
• The findings from the WEAI diagnostics are used to identify the focus of
• Contribution of each of the five domains to disempowerment
Leadership, Time, Resources, Production and Income
Result: WEAI Descriptive
Results - Contribution of each of the 5 domains to
disempowerment of women
• Following the works by IFPRI colleagues (Sraboni et al, 2014 in Bangladesh
and Malapit et al, 2013)
• Likely that women’s empowerment within the household might be affected
by the same factors affecting child outcomes and dietary diversity
• Possible endogeneity of the empowerment measure - instrumental variables
• Percentage of women who are members of women only groups in the
community (village level empowerment proxy)
• Number of types of informal credit sources in the village as instruments for
all of the empowerment indicators.
• The cluster-level distance to markets- reflect the intensity of a woman’s work
burden at home, the woman’s degree of isolation within the community
• Individual level characteristics (Child and mother) and Household
• Household size, Dependency ratio, Land size, Crop diversification (number of food
groups produced by the household), Wealth (asset and housing), Number of dairy cows,
Number of chicken, Location dummy)
• Estimation using IVprobit for child and women nutrition outcomes
• After each IV regression we test for the endogeneity of the women
• When we fail to reject the exogeneity of women’s empowerment, the simple
Probit results are our preferred estimates.
• Regression on Stunting, we fail to reject the exogeniety of women’s
empowerment – Simple probit.
• For the IVprobit regressions, the over identification and under
identification test results confirm that instruments are valid and the model
Children’s nutritional outcomes:
• Availability of dairy cows and chicken
• Dependency ratio
Women’s nutritional outcomes (particularly Dietary Diversity)
• Availability of dairy cows and chicken
• Number of crops produced by the household
Result: Other variables affecting children’s and women’s
• Women’s empowerment has a positive impact on children’s nutritional
outcome (reducing stunting and underweight) as well as women’s nutritional
outcomes (Dietary Diversity)
• Different dimensions of women’s empowerment appear to have different
effects on nutritional status and dietary diversity.
• Group membership of women emerges to be strongly correlated with both
child and mother outcomes.
• The number of hours in paid and unpaid is also positively associated with
material dietary diversity and BMI; and negatively associated with the
probability of children’s wasting.
• Control of income is important as a determinant of BMI and child’s stunting.
• Improved nutritional outcome is not necessarily correlated with being
empowered in all the domains of empowerment.
• Different domains may have different impacts on nutrition, consistent with
other findings in the empowerment literature (Kabeer 1999, Sraboni et al,
2014; Malapit et al, 2013).
• Interventions to increase women’s agency work towards improving child
nutrition as well as their own well-being.