Advances in Women’s Empowerment: Critical Insight from Asia, Africa and Latin America: Volume 29

Cover of Advances in Women’s Empowerment: Critical Insight from Asia, Africa and Latin America
Subject:

Table of contents

(12 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-ix
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Abstract

Women’s empowerment is a multidimensional concept that encompasses different aspects such as access to education, freedom to make vital decisions, labor market access, wages, and political participation, among others. In this research, the authors construct a multidimensional index of women’s empowerment that takes into account individual resources and achievements and analyze its evolution across countries using data from the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations for 17 gender indicators across 96 countries over the period 1995–2015. By means of exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, the authors identify three dimensions of women’s empowerment: reproductive health, economic participation, and basic education. In addition, the authors use cluster techniques to classify countries into four groups with similar behavior patterns in the different domains of women’s empowerment: a group of countries with high levels in the domains of reproductive health and basic education but with low levels in economic participation; a group of countries with high levels in the domains of reproductive health and economic participation that should pay attention to education; a group of countries with medium levels across the three dimensions of women’s empowerment, especially in reproductive health and economic participation; and a group of countries with low levels in all the dimensions of women’s empowerment, especially in reproductive health and basic education. The comparison of these different patterns serves to highlight the aspects in which improvements have been made or, on the contrary, to highlight the obstacles that are hindering the improvement of gender equality. Finally, the results suggest that advancements in women’s empowerment improve the countries’ level of development.

Abstract

Despite some decline, most Sub Saharan African countries still exhibit very high levels of fertility, resulting in the lengthening of the phase of strong population growth. Using Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) data collected over a pooled sample of more than 430,000 married women living in 33 countries, the author examines the relationship between empowerment and desired fertility. The author constructs six different proxies of empowerment: two “objective” proxies (education and labor force participation), three “subjective” proxies (say in household decisions, non-acceptance of domestic violence, and no son preference), and a “relative” proxy (small spousal age difference). The author first shows that these six dimensions are related with one another and highly variable from one country to another across the region. the author then explores the relationship of these dimensions with desired fertility at the individual level. On the pooled sample, the author find that there is a strong and negative relationship between all six dimensions of empowerment and desired fertility: in other words, women who have a low degree of empowerment tend to want a higher number of children. This result still holds when taking into account country fixed-effects to account for country-level characteristics. However, when examining more closely the relationship at the country level, the author finds that there is some variation on the strength of the relationship and that its sign is reversed for some indicators in some countries. Lastly, the author finds that local context matters which suggests that empowerment policies should address both the individual and collective dimensions of empowerment.

Abstract

Income inequality in Brazil is high and persistent, explained at least in part by low intergenerational income mobility. Despite the increasing female labor participation, most of the studies consider only father’s income to analyze intergenerational mobility. This chapter aims to analyze the role of mothers in intergenerational income mobility and the differences in mobility patterns between daughters and sons in Brazil. We use information from social mobility supplement of 2014 National Household Sample Survey to estimate intergenerational elasticity of labor income. The results show that the relation between mothers’ and children’s income is almost as high as that of fathers, especially for daughters. Mobility patterns’ analysis reveals no significant differences between daughters and sons. However, gender income inequalities are more pronounced for women from poor families. As returns to education are increasing, the educational advantage of female over male workers seems to offset gender gap for those of richer families. Moreover, the educational mobility between generations was higher for daughters than for sons. Despite that, daughters did not experience greater income mobility than sons. These results suggest that equalizing educational opportunities is important to promote intergenerational income mobility, although not sufficient. Nowadays, women in Brazil are more educated than men, but there exist social barriers to achieve equal payment for similar levels of schooling. Then, there is still room for gendered actions and policies related to improvements in labor market conditions to narrow the gender wage gap between men and women and between workers from richer and poorer families.

Abstract

This chapter deals with an important but neglected aspect of female labor force participation (FLFP) in urban India. Contemporary literature typically focuses on the entire urban sector and ignores one important aspect of urban living – the slums and its dwellers. This study fills that critical gap by examining two different household surveys side-by-side: a primary survey of households living in slums and slum-rehabilitated colonies, and the nationally representative Indian Human Development survey-II. This study brings outs a comparative picture of nature/type of FLFP and its various correlates from both slum and non-slum areas of three metro cities of India, viz. Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. It further explores the similarities and the differences of the correlates for FLFP among the slum clusters of these cities. It is found that despite being poorer and marginalized, the slum dwelling women’s LFP rate is not extra-ordinarily high vis-á-vis their non-slum urban counterparts. In slums, a higher proportion of women are engaged in self-employment (including family business) and casual employments (includes domestic helps), whereas in non-slum areas relatively more women are engaged in regular salaried jobs. Regression analysis identifies correlates that have similar effects, but with different intensity, across-the-board – relationship between education and FLFP reflects a flat-bottom J-shaped pattern; being married, higher child dependency ratio and household heads with higher education significantly constrain women’s work choice; strong income effect of other household members earning on FLFP, but asset holding has no bearing. However, there are other factors that affect FLFP differently in slums and non-slum areas. Policy prescriptions are drawn.

Abstract

This chapter analyses the relationship between individuals’ poverty situation and conjugal status (divorced, separated, in a free union, or legally married) from 1996 to 2014. It describes different marriage property regimes that exist in state laws in Mexico. Couples living in free union are found to be poorer than those legally married, indicating that marriage may help to protect families more than cohabitation laws. When comparing divorced men and women, women show higher signs of being poorer than men; this could be because the law establishes that the assets in case of divorce accrue to whoever works and pays for them, and given that many women work in the unpaid sectors, men are the owners of the assets. Having no consideration of these facts in the law may create poverty with gender bias in the case of divorce. Additionally, there is lack of data in administrative records of marriage and divorce about couples’ assets, children, and employment status before and after the marriage, so we discuss the importance that in a near future this could be register to facilitate law and policy-makers identifying what contributes to create poverty with gender bias as a results of family laws, and correct them.

Abstract

This chapter analyzes spatio-temporal patterns of female homicides in Mexico during the period 1990 to 2018. It analyzes socio-demographic and geographical characteristics of female homicides from which it is possible to apply statistical methods that identify regions with high incidence rates that persist over time. It is also discussed the growing participation of civil society organizations (CSOs) and its role on establishing accountability mechanisms and the developments of public policy programs in light of the poor institutional capacity of the Mexican state to address this problem. The findings here described suggest a demographic and geographic spread of female homicides – that is, the phenomenon of violence against women has reached more significant socio-demographic segments whose incidence covers a greater territorial extension. Furthermore, it is argued that despite the strategies implemented by the federal and local government on addressing the problem, the results are far from being acceptable. As argued, this calls for a nationwide initiative, the involvement of international agencies, and the consolidation of women’s empowerment though participatory mechanisms in all aspects of public life.

Abstract

This chapter analyzes the role of grassroots organizations as natural helping systems for women’s empowerment in the rural areas of central Mexico. For almost three decades, productive projects have been the preferred strategy by the Mexican government in order to alleviate extreme poverty and promote women’s empowerment. Even if the impact of productive projects on women’s empowerment has been limited, grassroots organizations are created in order to have access to financial resources that have promoted the collective dimension of women’s empowerment. Through semi-structured interviews and participatory observation, this study retrieves the experience of women’s leadership, frustrated by changing public policy, local corruption, and political use of the social policy. In those difficult circumstances, grassroots organizations are fundamental tools for women’s well-being as they promote a specific understanding of empowerment, where family, community, and relatedness are values more important than competition and individualistic achievements.

Abstract

In 2003, the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in southern India, Jayaram Jayalalithaa, gave a speech about the “silent revolution” of the empowerment of Indian women. But 15 years on, regrettably, the promises of that revolution do not seem to have been fulfilled. Thanks to the various programs set up to champion women’s empowerment (involving local NGOs, public programs, and international support), women are now more prominent in certain public spaces and are able to play a genuine advocacy role with regard to the public authorities. Girls education has also significantly improved. But it has not brought about improved employment opportunities. Women are in fact losing out on paid employment (as is the case in India as a whole). They are also heavily indebted (not only from microcredit, but also informal lending and lending from private financial companies). Their indebtedness is disproportionate to their income, and compared to men. Moreover, women almost exclusively put debt toward the social reproduction of families. Reduced opportunities for paid employment and massive debt have hit Dalit women particularly hard. The analyses of this chapter use data collected over more than a decade in a rural area of Tamil Nadu, drawing together ethnography and quantitative data, including panel data (2010–2016). They shed light on the complexity of social change, intertwining forms of domination (here, caste, and gender), and the ambiguous qualities of so-called empowerment programs, whose impacts have been various and unexpected.

Conclusions

Pages 201-204
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Index

Pages 205-209
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Cover of Advances in Women’s Empowerment: Critical Insight from Asia, Africa and Latin America
DOI
10.1108/S1529-2126202029
Publication date
2020-09-21
Book series
Advances in Gender Research
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-83982-472-2
eISBN
978-1-83982-472-2
Book series ISSN
1529-2126