Women’s Economic Empowerment and Children’s School Outcomes: The Case of Malawi

Eunice M. Williams , University of Southampton
Heini E. Vaisanen, University of Southampton
Sabu S. S. Padmadas, University of Southampton

Efforts for improving access and quality of universal basic education in many LMICs have not been effective, necessitating a rethink of the approaches. Women’s economic empowerment (WEE) has attracted high policy interest, and is recognized as a central, cross-cutting outcome, and the cornerstone to achieving the SDGs. Yet, no studies have explored it’s association with education outcomes of children. We filled this gap using the 2016/17 integrated household survey data from Malawi, focusing on children’s progression through grade at appropriate ages. Our results show that WEE was significantly associated with being on-time for grade, with girls having higher odds of being on-time for grade compared to boys. This is a novel finding that WEE may play a role in helping children progress through grades at appropriate ages, especially older girls in secondary school, who are otherwise more likely to drop out of school than boys of the same age. Given the importance of school progression and completion and its contribution to human capital development, this study points to the beneficial role that WEE may play in improving children’s education outcomes. The results show that economic empowerment is a significant determinant in children’s school enrolment and progression, and more so in being on-time for grade which is a major challenge in Malawi.

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 Presented in Session P1. Postercafe