Measuring women's empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa: Exploratory and Confirmatory Factor Analyses of the demographic and health surveys

Ibitola O. Asaolu, Halimatou Alaofè, Jayleen K.L. Gunn, Akosua K. Adu, Amanda J. Monroy, John E Ehiri, Mary H. Hayden, Kacey C Ernst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Women's status and empowerment influence health, nutrition, and socioeconomic status of women and their children. Despite its benefits, however, research on women's empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is limited in scope and geography. Empowerment is variably defined and data for comparison across regions is often limited. The objective of the current study was to identify domains of empowerment from a widely available data source, Demographic and Health Surveys, across multiple regions in SSA. Methods: Demographic and Health Surveys from nineteen countries representing four African regions were used for the analysis. A total of 26 indicators across different dimensions (economic, socio-cultural, education, and health) were used to characterize women's empowerment. Pooled data from all countries were randomly divided into two datasets-one for exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and the other for Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA)-to verify the factor structure hypothesized during EFA. Results: Four factors including attitudes toward violence, labor force participation, education, and access to healthcare were found to define women's empowerment in Central, Southern, and West Africa. However, in East Africa, only three factors were relevant: attitudes toward violence, access to healthcare ranking, and labor force participation. There was limited evidence to support household decision-making, life course, or legal status domains as components of women's empowerment. Conclusion: This foremost study advances scholarship on women's empowerment by providing a validated measure of women's empowerment for researchers and other stakeholders in health and development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number994
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume9
Issue numberJUN
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 19 2018

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Africa South of the Sahara
Statistical Factor Analysis
Demography
Violence
Delivery of Health Care
Central Africa
Power (Psychology)
Southern Africa
Eastern Africa
Women's Rights
Geography
Western Africa
Information Storage and Retrieval
Jurisprudence
Nutritional Status
Health Education
Social Class
Health Status
Decision Making
Economics

Keywords

  • Confirmatory factor analysis
  • Exploratory factor analysis
  • Gender equality
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Women's empowerment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Measuring women's empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa : Exploratory and Confirmatory Factor Analyses of the demographic and health surveys. / Asaolu, Ibitola O.; Alaofè, Halimatou; Gunn, Jayleen K.L.; Adu, Akosua K.; Monroy, Amanda J.; Ehiri, John E; Hayden, Mary H.; Ernst, Kacey C.

In: Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 9, No. JUN, 994, 19.06.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Asaolu, Ibitola O. ; Alaofè, Halimatou ; Gunn, Jayleen K.L. ; Adu, Akosua K. ; Monroy, Amanda J. ; Ehiri, John E ; Hayden, Mary H. ; Ernst, Kacey C. / Measuring women's empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa : Exploratory and Confirmatory Factor Analyses of the demographic and health surveys. In: Frontiers in Psychology. 2018 ; Vol. 9, No. JUN.
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