Inequality in Reproductive Health and Women’s Economic Empowerment: Informing the “All” in SDG 5 of Gender Equality to Empower All Women and Girls

Jocelyn E. Finlay , Harvard University

In this paper, I examine the relationship between fertility and women’s work in the context of women’s economic empowerment. I consider fertility as a composite profile of a woman’s age at first birth, birth intervals, and number of children. I then analyze how these fertility profiles relate to a woman’s work. I also construct an “empowering-work index” as a composite measure of women’s work as a combination of her work status (work or not), work location, work for whom, cash or in-kind earnings, and decision-making power earnings. In addition, I consider variation in the prevalence and association of fertility profiles and the empowering-work index by region (sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America), wealth quintiles, and wealth quintiles within regions. In the multivariate analysis, I find that birth spacing has a big impact on whether a women works, and short birth spacing is associated with working in a high empowering-work situation.

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 Presented in Session 155. Gender and Inequality in Low- and Middle-Income Countries