Socio-economic, demographic, and behavioural determinants of women's empowerment in Mozambique

PLoS One. 2021 May 28;16(5):e0252294. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0252294. eCollection 2021.


Introduction: Empowerment is considered pivotal for how women access and use health care services and experience their sexual and reproductive rights. In Mozambique, women's empowerment requires a better understanding and contextualization, including looking at factors that could drive empowerment in that context. This study aims to identify socioeconomic, demographic, and behavioural determinants of different domains of women's empowerment in Mozambique.

Methods: Using the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) conducted in 2015 for Mozambique, a sample of 2072 women aged between 15 and 49 years old were included in this study. The DHS's indicators of women's empowerment were used in a principal component analysis and the obtained components were identified as the domains of empowerment. Logistic regressions were run to estimate the association of socioeconomic, demographic, and behavioural characteristics with each domain of empowerment. Crude and adjusted odds ratios (OR) and respective 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated.

Results: Three domains of women's empowerment were identified, namely (1) Beliefs about violence against women, (2) Decision-making, and (3) Control over sexuality and safe sex. Region, rurality, the experience of intimate partner violence (IPV) and partner's controlling behaviours were associated with Beliefs about violence against women, while Decision-making and Control over sexuality and safe sex were also associated with education, age and wealth. Employment, polygamous marriage and religion was positively associated with Decision-making, and access to media increased the odds of Control over sexuality and safe sex.

Conclusion: Women's empowerment seems to be determined by different socio-economic, demographic, and behavioural factors and this seems to be closely related to different domains of empowerment identified. This finding affirms the multi-dimensionality of empowerment as well as the importance of considering the context- and community-specific characteristics.

Grant support

We gratefully acknowledge the PhD grant from Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia to SCL (SFRH/BD/146625/2019) and the contract to SF (CEECIND/01516/2017). We also thank the University of Cape Town, Faculty of Health Sciences for the Post Graduate Research Training Grant (FRC Award 2019) to SCL. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.