Women's Empowerment in Agriculture and Child Nutritional Status in Nepal


Kenda Cunningham, Suneetha Kadiyala




The extremely low status of women in South Asia is hypothesized to contribute to persistent child malnutrition in the region. 

Project details

This study has several objectives: 1) to review the evidence linking women’s empowerment and child nutrition in South Asia; 2) to measure and describe the nutritional status among under 2s and women’s empowerment among rural Nepalese, using the newly created Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index; 3) to investigate associations of women’s empowerment in agriculture to child undernutrition in this context; and 4) to explore whether and how the care practices of child feeding, hygiene, or preventive health-seeking behaviours mediate associations between care resource domains and the nutritional status of children.

In this study, a critical literature review resulting in only about 15 studies indicates that maternal status does influences child nutritional status.

We have conducted a cross-sectional survey of 1,787 rural households with children (<2y) across 16 districts of Nepal. Multivariate regression analyses are being used to test associations of child (<2y) undernutrition and women’s empowerment in agriculture including decision-making regarding household food production, access to resources, control of income, community leadership, and time devoted to work and leisure activities. 

Preliminary results indicate that women’s empowerment in agriculture is positively associated with both HAZ and WAZ, but not WHZ, even after controlling for child age and sex; maternal age, height, and education; and household socio-economic status and total number of children under five.

Further results are not yet available.

Collaborators: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)