New research paper by Sidra Ishfaq (see her biography in People), who was a visiting scholar at SCPHRP in 2021, plus members of SCPHRP. It provides further evidence that female empowerment plays a crucial role in household nutrition and food security. The study, published in PLoS ONE, ( https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0275713) aimed to explore the relationship between women’s empowerment and food and nutrition security, in rural Pakistan. To estimate women’s empowerment, we developed a Rural Women Composite Empowerment Index incorporating nine domains. For indicators of food and nutritional data we used data of 1879 rural households from Pakistan Rural Household Panel Survey (PRHPS). Food insecurity was measured through a caloric intake approach; nutrition insecurity was measured through recommended nutrient intake (RNI). Using the Rural Women’s Composite Empowerment Index (RWCEI), the most important domais of female empowerment were traveling safely, time allocated to tasks and (lack of) domestic violence. Regression analysis found a positive and significant relationship between women’s empowerment and food and nutrition security–the proportion of household who were food and nutritionally secure in empowered households was 70% and 98% respectively. We concluded that developing programmes and policies to improve the range of domains of women’s empowerment requires a focussed policy requires a focussed policy agenda, bringing together policy makers from a number of different sectors including education, economy, communications, technology and agriculture. Women’s empowerment has the potential to make positive changes not only in food and nutrition security, but in all aspects of family health and wellbeing.
More evidence that female empowerment plays a crucial role in household nutrition and food security
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