Importance of Women’s Status for Child Nutrition in Bangladesh

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Date Submitted: 11/17/2012 02:26 AM

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Importance of Women’s Status for Child Nutrition in Bangladesh


The aim of the present study is to investigate the role of women’s intra-household status in determining their children’s nutritional health. The study defines women’s status as women’s power relative to men and uses women’s decision-making power relative to their male partners as a measure of women’s status. The study utilized the data extracted from Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey, 2007 (BDHS 2007). Factor analysis was employed to calculate the index of women’s relative decision-making power. Bivariate and multivariate (Cox’s linear logistic regression model) analyses were performed to identify the association and to investigate the impact of women’s status and other selected demographic, socioeconomic and health related factors on the indicators of child nutrition. The study result reveals that the women’s status has a significant positive consequence on long-term nutritional status (stunting) of children.


The status of women is an important factor affecting the overall development of a country. The total development of Bangladesh will undoubtedly be hampered if the status of women, constituting about fifty percent of the country’s population, remains as low as it today.

The low status of women leaves many consequences on her personal and social life including her own and child’s welfare. The women having low intra-household status are less able to influence decisions on desired family size, health care-seeking behavior for children, the amounts and types of food fed to children, and the amount of time to spend on child-rearing. Moreover, the discrimination the women faced as girls affects the nutrition status of their children through their own smaller size as adults. Small women have a greater risk of having low birth weight children due to smaller pelvic size. The low status of women leads to an undervaluation of their time and to underinvestment in...