Women's Empowerment in Rural Bangladesh: Insights from Longitudinal Data

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

In the past decade significant progress has been made in the conceptualization of women’s empowerment but challenges remain in the development of meaningful operational indicators. We use cross-sectional and longitudinal data from 1994 and 2002 surveys in rural Bangladesh to explore changes over time in the level and correlates of eight indicators of women’s empowerment. Using both cross-sectional and cohort samples we a) compare empowerment scores 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 82: Gender Inequality in Developing Countries