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Table 1 Dimensions of empowerment and their operationalization

From: Women’s empowerment and fertility preferences in high fertility countries in Sub-Saharan Africa

Dimensions DHS Variables (Births Recode file) Justification Operationalization
Family Age of the respondent at 1st birth
Age of the respondent at 1st sex
Age at the 1st sex and age at the 1st birth help account for the possibility that empowerment is dynamic and that life course experiences shape women’s empowerment [20]. Years
Years
Who usually decides on household purchases How married women participate in all four of the important household decisions (their own health care, major household purchases, purchases of daily household needs and visits to her family or relatives) are important for their autonomy [40]. A woman’s ability to decide on large or small purchases affects her empowerment [35]. Husband/other alone = − 1; joint = 0; respondent alone = 1
Decision maker for using contraception Husband/other alone = − 1; joint = 0; respondent alone = 1
Who usually decides on visits to family or relatives Husband/other alone = − 1; joint = 0; respondent alone = 1
Who usually decides on respondent’s health care Husband/other alone = − 1; joint = 0; respondent alone = 1
Heard of family planning on radio last few months Resources that are considered prerequisite for the exercise of women’s choice generally include paid employment, education, and media exposure [35]. Informal channels such as the mass media (television, cinema, newspaper and so on) play an important role in bringing about greater awareness of gender issues [35]. No = 0; Yes = 1
Heard of family planning on TV last few months No = 0; Yes = 1
Heard of family planning in newspaper/magazine last few months No = 0; Yes = 1
Economic Respondent worked in last 12 months Women’s equal access to and control over economic resources have impact on their economic empowerment [35]. The way women’s contributions are valued and women’s ability to negotiate a fairer deal for themselves enhance their empowerment [23]. No = 0; In the past year = 1; Have a job, but on leave last 7 days = 2; Currently working = 2
Type of earnings from respondent’s work Not paid = 0; In-kind only = 1; Cash and in-kind = 2; Cash only = 3
Owns a house alone or jointly Does not own = − 1; Jointly only = 0; Alone only = 1; Both alone and jointly = 1
Owns land alone or jointly Does not own = − 1; Jointly only = 0; Alone only = 1; Both alone and jointly = 1
Sociocultural Women education A woman’s level of formal schooling and her exposure to media affect empowerment [35]. Years
Frequency of listening to radio Not at all = 0; Less than once a week = 1; At least once a week = 2
Frequency of reading newspaper or magazine Not at all = 0; Less than once a week = 1; At least once a week = 2