Health effects of women’s empowerment in agriculture in Northern Ghana: different patterns by body mass index categories

Francis Tsiboe, Yacob A. Zereyesus, Jennie S. Popp & Evelyn Osei

The impact of women’s empowerment in agriculture on women\s health, indicated by their body mass index (BMI), is examined using an instrumental variable estimation approach on a sample of 4 267 women. This sample was drawn from both a 2012 and 2015 population-based survey conducted in Northern Ghana. Unlike previous studies, this study accounts for differences in health implications of the different BMI sub-samples (underweight, normal, overweight and obese). The results suggest that women with a high degree of empowerment, regardless of domain (Production, Resources, Income, Leadership and Time), have a significantly higher health status. However, in terms of policy sequencing, it is important to start with enhancing women’s empowerment in the Production domain.
The lack of empowerment in this domain will not only lead to poor health for women, but also have a negative impact on empowerment in the Income, Resources and Leadership domains that feed back into affecting women’s health negatively.