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The Role of Gender Empowerment on Reproductive Health Outcomes in Urban Nigeria

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To date, limited evidence is available for urban populations in sub-Saharan Africa, specifically research into the association between urban women’s empowerment and reproductive health outcomes. The objective of this study is to investigate whether women’s empowerment in urban Nigerian settings is associated with family planning use and maternal health behaviors. Moreover, we examine whether different effects of empowerment exist by region of residence. This study uses baseline household survey data from the Measurement, Learning and Evaluation Project for the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative being implemented in six major cities. We examine four dimensions of empowerment: economic freedom, attitudes towards domestic violence, partner prohibitions and decision-making. We determine if the empowerment dimensions have different effects on reproductive health outcomes by region of residence using multivariate analyses. Results indicate that more empowered women are more likely to use modern contraception, deliver in a health facility and have a skilled attendant at birth. These trends vary by empowerment dimension and by city/region in Nigeria. We conclude by discussing the implications of these findings on future programs seeking to improve reproductive health outcomes in urban Nigeria and beyond.

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Funding for this work comes from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This research was also supported by Grant, 5 R24 HD050924, Carolina Population Center, awarded to the Carolina Population Center at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The contents of this paper are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the funders. Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the International Family Planning Conference in Dakar, Senegal and at the Sixth African Population Conference in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. At the time the work on this Project was performed, JC Fotso and L Irani were working on the Measurement, Learning & Evaluation Project through the organizations listed. The authors would also like to thank Priya Nanda and Barbara Burke for their contributions to this paper.

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Correspondence to Meghan Corroon.

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Corroon, M., Speizer, I.S., Fotso, JC. et al. The Role of Gender Empowerment on Reproductive Health Outcomes in Urban Nigeria. Matern Child Health J 18, 307–315 (2014).

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