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Citation Information

Type Working Paper - Fertility and Empowerment Network
Title The Influence of Women's Early Childbearing on Subsequent Empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Cross-national Meta Analysis
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
URL http://www.icrw.org/files/publications/The-Influence-of-Women's-Early-Childbearing-on-Subsequent-Emp​owerment-in-Sub-Saharan-Africa-A-Cross-National-Meta-Analysis-Hindin.pdf
Abstract
Preventing adolescent pregnancy is a key avenue for promoting the empowerment of women and girls as well as achieving the international development agenda, such as the Millennium Development Goals. More than half of sub-Saharan A frican adolescents have a child, with levels ranging from 26% in Rwanda to 69% in Niger. Evidence suggests that adolescent childbearing may interrupt school attendance and impair young women’s long-term social and economic mobility. Also, given the subordinate status of women in many African settings, once pregnant, young women may have limited ability to negotiate decisions around the pregnancy as well as within their relationships. Our data come from the most recent Demographic and Health Surveys in 25 sub-Saharan African nations. Using attitudes towards wife beating as a measure o f empowerment, we conduct a country-by-country multivariable analysis and provide an overall assessment of our hypothesis of the influence of early childbearing on women’s empowerment using meta-analysis techniques. R esults show in nearly all countries that overall, women who had a birth under the age of 20 or 16 were significantly more likely to believe wife beating is justified. These results support the argument that adolescent childbearing may adversely affect future empowerment as those who began childbearing earlier have expectations of poorer status and empowerment within marital relationships.

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