Revisiting indicators of women's empowerment in rural Bangladesh: a longitudinal analysis

Lisa M. Bates, Harvard Medical School
Sidney Ruth Schuler, Academy for Educational Development (AED)
Farzana Islam, Jahangirnagar University
Joanna Maselko, Harvard Medical School

In the past decade significant progress has been made in the conceptualization of women’s empowerment but empirical work testing operational measures of empowerment lags behind. We use cross-sectional and longitudinal data on women’s empowerment and its correlates from 1994 and 2002 surveys in rural Bangladesh to explore the validity of eight indicators of women’s empowerment. Using both cross-sectional and cohort samples we a) compare prevalence data in 1994 and 2002 to identify changes over time and the degree of co-variance in the individual indicators, b) compare the correlates of empowerment (micro-credit and education) in 1994 and 2002, and examine the association between these factors and changes in empowerment over time among the cohort, and c) compare the association between empowerment and family planning use in 1994 with that in 2002 to determine the extent to which the empowerment scores remain salient predictors of family planning over time.

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Presented in Session 175: Collecting and analysing data on gender