Are Improvements in Child Health Due to Increasing Status of Women in Developing Nations?

Tim B. Heaton, Brigham Young University

This study examines how much of the change in child nutrition and child mortality between 2000 and 2012 is associated with improvement in the status of women. Data are taken from DHS surveys and countries with two or more surveys since 2000 are included in the analysis. Key indicators of child health show improvement in the last 13 years in developing nations. Much of this improvement—90% of the increase in nutritional status and 47% of the reduction in mortality—is associated with improving status of women. Increased maternal education, control over reproduction, freedom from violence, access to health care, legislation and enforcement of women rights, greater political representation, equality in the education system, and lower maternal mortality are improving children’s health. These results imply that further advancement of women’s position in society would be beneficial.

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Presented in Session 224: Cross-Cultural Comparisons of Child Well-Being