Women's Empowerment in Agriculture: What Role for Food Security in Bangladesh?

36 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2014

See all articles by Esha Sraboni

Esha Sraboni

Brown University - Department of Sociology

Hazel Jean Malapit

University of the Philippines

Agnes R. Quisumbing

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Ahmed Akhter

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Date Written: October 2013

Abstract

Women’s low status and persistent gender gaps in health and education in South Asia contribute to chronic child malnutrition (Smith et al. 2003) and food insecurity (von Grebmer et al. 2009), even as other determinants of food security, such as per capita incomes, have improved. This is particularly relevant for Bangladesh, where chronic food insecurity continues to be an important issue despite steady advances in food production. To be able to leverage agriculture as an engine of inclusive growth, there is a need to develop indicators for measuring women’s empowerment, examine its relationship to various food-security outcomes, and monitor the impact of interventions to empower women. Using nationally representative survey data from Bangladesh, we examine the relationship between women’s empowerment in agriculture and two measures of household food security: per adult equivalent calorie availability and dietary diversity. We use the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index to assess the extent of women’s empowerment in agriculture and instrumental variables techniques to correct for the potential endogeneity of empowerment. We find that the overall women’s empowerment score, the number of groups in which women actively participate, women’s control of assets, and a narrowing gap in empowerment between men and women within households are positively associated with calorie availability and dietary diversity.

Keywords: Bangladesh, South Asia, Asia, gender, women, food security, agriculture, nutrition, nutritional status, gender parity, empowerment

Suggested Citation

Sraboni, Esha and Malapit, Hazel Jean and Quisumbing, Agnes R. and Akhter, Ahmed, Women's Empowerment in Agriculture: What Role for Food Security in Bangladesh? (October 2013). IFPRI Discussion Paper 01297. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2373183 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2373183

Esha Sraboni (Contact Author)

Brown University - Department of Sociology ( email )

Providence, RI
United States

Hazel Jean Malapit

University of the Philippines ( email )

Pedro R. Sandoval Ave
Los Banos, Laguna 4031
Philippines

Agnes R. Quisumbing

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Ahmed Akhter

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

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