Gendered Intrahousehold Bargaining Power is Associated with Child Nutritional Status in Nepal

Shibani Kulkarni, Edward A. Frongillo, Kenda Cunningham, Spencer Moore, Christine E. Blake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Women's intrahousehold bargaining power is an important determinant of child nutrition in Nepal, but a better understanding is needed on how men's bargaining power is related to child nutrition. OBJECTIVES: We examined the relation of women's and men's household bargaining power with child height-for-age z score (HAZ). METHODS: We analyzed cross-sectional data from 2012, collected as an impact evaluation baseline of the Suaahara 1 program. A subsample of households with data on women's and men's intrahousehold bargaining power (n = 2170) with children aged 0-59 mo across Nepal was considered for this analysis. Intrahousehold bargaining power consisted of 4 domains: 1) ownership and control of assets, 2) social participation, 3) time allocation to work activities (workload), and 4) household decision-making control. Using multilevel methods, we analyzed associations between HAZ and 1) women's bargaining power, 2) men's bargaining power, and 3) women's and men's bargaining power, adjusted for individual- and household-level confounding factors and clustering. RESULTS: Women's ownership and control of assets was positively associated with HAZ when women's and men's domains were modeled together (β: 0.0597, P = 0.026). Men's social participation was positively associated with HAZ in the men's model (β: 0.233, P < 0.001) and the model with women's and men's domains (β: 0.188, P = 0.001). Women's workload was negatively associated with HAZ in the women's model (β: -0.0503, P = 0.014) and in the model with women's and men's domains (β: -0.056, P = 0.008). Household decision making for women (β: -0.0631, P = 0.007) and for men (β: -0.0546, P = 0.017) were negatively associated with HAZ in the gender-specific models. Women's social participation, men's ownership and control of assets, and men's workload were not associated with HAZ. CONCLUSIONS: Women's workload and ownership and control of assets and men's social participation may be important in improving child HAZ in Nepal. Nutrition interventions should address women's intrahousehold bargaining power and promote men's social engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1018-1024
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of Nutrition
Volume151
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • access and control of resources
  • child HAZ
  • child nutrition
  • empowerment
  • gender
  • intrahousehold bargaining power
  • workload

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