The role of gender empowerment on reproductive health outcomes in urban Nigeria

Matern Child Health J. 2014 Jan;18(1):307-315. doi: 10.1007/s10995-013-1266-1.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Family Planning Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Nigeria
  • Parity
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproductive Health*
  • Social Class*
  • Urban Health
  • Women's Rights*
  • Young Adult