15) Women’s Empowerment


This chapter provides indicators of women’s empowerment, develops two empowerment indices, and relates those indices to select demographic and health outcomes.


The DHS Woman’s Questionnaire collects data on the general background characteristics of female respondents (e.g., age, education, wealth quintile and employment status) and also data more specific related to women’s empowerment such as receipt of cash earnings, the magnitude of a woman’s earnings relative to those of her husband, control over the use of a her own earnings and those of her husband. The chapter includes indicators of woman’s empowerment according to the general background characteristics of female respondents.


The Woman’s Questionnaire also collects data on a woman’s participation in household decision making and on her attitude toward wife beating. Two separate indices of empowerment are developed based on the number of household decisions in which the respondent participates and her opinion on the number of reasons that justify wife beating. The ranking of women on these two indices can then be related to selected demographic and health outcomes including contraceptive use, ideal family size and unmet need for contraception as well as the receipt of health care services during pregnancy, at delivery and in the postnatal period, and the mortality of children.