Women’s Empowerment and Children’s Health: The Case of Ghana

  • Meital Izraelov
  • Jacques Silber
Part of the Economic Studies in Inequality, Social Exclusion and Well-Being book series (EIAP)


Women in developing countries are still the main caregivers for children. They are responsible for their nutrition and often make decisions concerning their healthcare. However, their decisions depend on their resources and on their ability to make independent choices, in short, on the degree of their empowerment. This paper takes a multidimensional approach for measuring women’s empowerment. It distinguishes between several domains of women’s empowerment (the ability to take decisions, a woman’s attitude towards violence by her husband and the resources and information available to her). Given that several variables related to women’s empowerment exist for a given domain, we use an aggregation method from literature on the fuzzy approach to multidimensional poverty measurement to derive an overall indicator for the domain. The paper assumes that children’s health is a latent variable. The indicators available on children’s health are their height and weight for age. The empirical analysis based on the 2008 Health and Demographic Survey in Ghana and on the implementation of the MIMIC approach leads to several policy relevant conclusions. First, a woman’s ability to take decisions has a significant and positive impact on children’s health. Second, variables describing a woman’s attitude towards her husband’s violence do not seem to have an impact on the children’s health and this is also the case for the extent of information available to a woman. Third, children’s health is generally higher if the educational level of the mother and her body mass index are higher. This also depends on whether the woman is married and the older she is.


Alkire and Foster approach Demographic and Health Survey Ghana Health MIMIC model Violence against women Women’s empowerment 

JEL Classification

D13 I15 J12 J13 J16 O15 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meital Izraelov
    • 1
  • Jacques Silber
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsBar-Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael
  2. 2.LISEREsch-sur-AlzetteLuxembourg
  3. 3.Centro Camilo Dagum, Tuscan Interuniversity Centre, Advanced Statistics for Equitable and Sustainable DevelopmentPisaItaly

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