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Dimensions and drivers of women's empowerment in rural Nigeria

Oluwakemi Adeola Obayelu (Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria)
Amaka Christiana Chime (Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 27 February 2020

Issue publication date: 6 March 2020




The majority of poor women in Africa live in rural areas, and investigating their empowerment status and factors influencing their empowerment is therefore a tool for overcoming poverty. This paper investigated the dimensions and determinants of women's empowerment in rural Nigeria.


This study used data from the 2013 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS). Information on women's agencies, resource, income, leadership and time/workload was used to construct women empowerment index (WEI). Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and logit regression model.


Most of the decisions were made by the women's spouses, while decisions on how to spend her earnings were jointly made with her spouse. A majority of the women did not justify beating nor owned businesses. A larger percentage of rural women were disempowered than men; agency had the highest relative contribution to women's disempowerment; and women in the northern zones of Nigeria were less empowered than their southern counterparts. Husband's education and her age were inversely related to women's empowerments while her education, household size and being the household head were directly related to it.


There is a dearth of empirical studies on multidimensional women's empowerment in rural Nigeria. This study therefore provides a clear understanding of drivers of women's empowerment in rural Nigeria, and its findings are to serve as guiding documents for policymakers in designing gender-responsive interventions programs and implementation of a genuine gender mainstreaming in rural development policy in Nigeria. Further, the findings would contribute to the growing body of knowledge, especially empirical studies, on women's empowerment in Nigeria and the developing world.

Peer review

The peer review history for this article is available at:



Authors are grateful to the National Population Commission, Abuja, Nigeria for providing the data for this study.


Obayelu, O.A. and Chime, A.C. (2020), "Dimensions and drivers of women's empowerment in rural Nigeria", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 47 No. 3, pp. 315-333.



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