Gender and Behaviour

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Changes in women’s status and fertility behaviour in Sub- Saharan Africa (SSA): a decomposition analysis

Banjo Olufunmilayo Olufunmilola, Akinyemi J. Odunayo, Simo-Fotso Arlette


Very little is known about the contribution of changes in women’s status to fertility trends in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Using a linear decomposition technique, this study assessed changes in women’s status and the influence on fertility levels. Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data for 2-time periods with a minimum of 10 years interval for seven SSA countries constitute the data for this study. Results showed improved women’s status across the countries with increased proportion of women involved in decision making as well as women who do not justify wife beating. The decomposition models showed that, changes in fertility were due to changes in women’s status as well as changes in the background characteristics. The first model showed that the explained changes in fertility largely resulted from women’s perception of gender role attitudes compared to women’s involvement in household decision making. The second model also showed similar results. The study concludes that, women’s status is changing across SSA and that these changes tend to explain some of the changes in fertility across the countries. Other demographic and socio-economic characteristics also contribute substantially to fertility changes.

Keywords: changing women’s status, decomposition, fertility behaviour, sub-Saharan Africa

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