Gender-Based Violence as New Proximate Determinant of Fertility Change in Sub-Saharan Africa

Clifford O. Odimegwu, University of the Witwatersrand
Samson O. Bamiwuye, Obafemi Awolowo University
Nyasha Chadoka, University of the Witwatersrand

This paper investigates gender-based violence as a possible proximate determinant of fertility in sub-saharan Africa. Using data from Demographic and Health Surveys of five countries in sub-saharan Africa at different levels of fertility, we examined the samples of ever-married women of reproductive ages 15-49, we found strong statistical association between individual and community women’s experience of gender-based violence and children ever born. We found higher fertility among women who reported experiencing gender-based violence than otherwise. Also women from communities with high aggregate violence against women reported more children ever born than those from low density areas. We further explored the pathways through which gender-based violence influences fertility in the region. Based, we conclude that as long as the incidence and prevalence of gender-based violence remain high in sub-saharan Africa, with little or no concerted effort to address its health consequences, fertility decline in the region will remain stalled.

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Presented in Session 96: Fertility Transitions in Sub-Saharan Africa I