Women's social power, child nutrition and poverty in Mali

J Biosoc Sci. 2002 Apr;34(2):193-213. doi: 10.1017/s0021932002001931.


While the macro-level association between poverty and child malnutrition is well-established, the concept of 'poverty' and its operationalization in terms of measures of socioeconomic status shed little or no light on the mechanisms through which malnutrition is created and/or prevented. This paper investigates a woman's social power, one such mechanism that may mediate the impact of poverty on childhood nutrition. This micro-level factor is examined using survey data on 402 children 5 years of age and younger and their 261 Fulbe mothers in rural Mali. A conceptual model of social power is developed and used to test the hypothesis that a mother's social power can predict her child's nutritional status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Relations / ethnology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Mali
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Disorders / ethnology
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Poverty / ethnology*
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Women's Rights / statistics & numerical data*