Women’s Empowerment and Sexual Reproductive Health in Africa
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Women face significant health barriers and bear disproportionate burdens of disease, especially in areas of Sexual/Reproductive Health (SRH). The inequities and inequalities are more pronounced in Sub- Saharan African countries. Women’s empowerment in Africa has been slowed down by a combination of multiple social and cultural factors. Some of these factors include poverty, illiteracy, conflicts, unhealthy social norms, gender inequality and gender violence. Literature suggests that empowered women have better SRH however. The purpose of this dissertation was to determine the relationship between women’s empowerment and SRH outcomes among women in Nigeria. The first study was a systematic literature review that explored the relationship between women’s empowerment and SRH among women in Sub-Saharan Africa. The study reviewed the history, current status, and different dimensions of women’s empowerment. It also reviewed the various methods used and challenges encountered when measuring women’s empowerment. The study found that women’s empowerment was associated with improved SRH. It also found a lack of uniformity in measuring women’s empowerment across studies. The second study assessed the status of women’s empowerment among Nigerian women. It also tested the performance of the Survey-based Women’s emPowERment index (SWPER) among a Nigerian population and found that Nigerian women’s empowerment was adequately measured by three factors (decision making, attitude to intimate partner violence and social independence). The third study was a secondary data analysis of Nigerian Demographic Health Survey (2003-2013). The study investigated the relationship between women’s empowerment and SRH (antenatal care, supervised birth attendance, sexually Transmitted infections, condom use, and HIV testing) among Nigerian women. Findings from this dissertation quantified the positive relationship between women’s empowerment and SRH health. I recommend that women’s empowerment programs should be used as a tool towards achieving better SRH for women in Africa. I also recommend further research towards the development of a more harmonized tool for the measurement of women’s empowerment in Africa.
Yusuf, Aishatu (2020). Women’s Empowerment and Sexual Reproductive Health in Africa. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from