Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture and Child Nutritional Outcomes in Rural Burkina Faso

Across developing countries, women play an important role both as producers of major food crops and in improving household nutrition. This research paper aims to assess the effect of improving women’s empowerment on the nutritional status of children in rural Burkina Faso. Based on data from the 2014 Multisectoral Continuous Survey (EMC), the paper uses variables such as income control, access to land, autonomy in production decisions, access to credit and social group membership to compute a composite index of women’s empowerment. Accounting for potential endogeneity of empowerment, the study adopts a dual-estimation approach that, first, uses average empowerment by stratum and, second, applies an instrumental variable. Results show a low baseline level of women’s empowerment in rural areas, but an improvement in empowerment has a relatively high and positive correlation with children’s nutritional outcomes. The study suggests that improving women’s empowerment components will translate into significant gains in children’s nutritional outcomes in rural households.