Rural women's empowerment and children's food and nutrition security in Bangladesh

Cara Holland, Anu Rammohan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Women's empowerment and child stunting remain key development challenges in Bangladesh. The objective of this study is to analyse the influence of female empowerment in agriculture, on child food security. This study uses household survey data from two waves of the Bangladesh Integrated Household Survey (BIHS), a rich panel dataset of over 6500 households in rural Bangladesh which includes detailed child anthropometric measurements of children under five years old. We adopt a multidimensional approach to female empowerment by analysing five key empowerment indicators from the Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI). The multivariate regression analysis explores the relationship between five key empowerment indicators and child stunting, a proxy for child food security. Our empirical analysis finds that women's autonomy in household productive decisions and confidence in public speaking are associated with significantly higher children's height-for-age z-scores (haz) and a decreased probability of stunting in this sample. These results suggest expanding women's empowerment is likely to complement nutritional interventions to reduce stunting in Bangladesh, while making progress towards other social and development goals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104648
JournalWorld Development
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


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