Married women’s empowerment and associated factors on achievement of their ideal number of children in Dilla Zuria woreda, Gedeo zone, Southern-Ethiopia: a community based cross sectional study

Akine Eshete, Prabhanjan Kumar Vata, Kokeb Desta, Semagn Mekonen


Background: Women’s empowerment in health care decision has been recognized as an important dimension to their access to reproductive health service and for better maternal and child health outcomes. However, the effect of women’s empowerment on achievement of their ideal number of children remains relatively unexplored in the context of Ethiopia. Hence, this current study aimed to explore the impact of women empowerment on their ability to achieve their ideal number of children among married women.

Methods: Community based cross-sectional study was conducted from January 1 to February 1, 2015 among married women aged 15-49 years in Dilla Zuraia Woreda, Gedeo Zone. Systematic sampling technique was used to select a total of 592 study participants. Pre-tested structured questionnaires were used for gathering data. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed using SPSS version 20.0 statistical package.

Results: This study demonstrates that 82.8% of women achieved their ideal number of children that they need to have in their whole life. About (69.4%) of married women had empowerment to achieves their ideal number of children. Women’s empowerment as measured by household decision making and attitude towards gender role were positively associated with women’s ideal number of children. The finding that empowerment as measured by household decision-making and gender role attitudes was less influential in predicting achievement of ideal fertility than husband‘s desires of children. Our study also suggests education was associated with a smaller ideal number of children.

Conclusions: Our study documents showed low empowerment, but strong association between women empowerment and achievement of their ideal number of children. The findings suggest different targeting strategies to improve women’s status, as well as men’s awareness and involvement in sexual issues via women’s empowerment.


Women‘s empowerment, Dilla Zuria woreda, Achievement, Ideal number of children

Full Text:



Do M, Kurimoto N. Women’s Empowerment and choice of contraceptive methods in selected African countries: international Perspectives on sexual and reproductive health. 2012;38(1):23-33.

Acharya DR, Bell JS, Simkhada P, Edwin R van Teijlingen ERV, Regmi PR. Women's autonomy in household decision- making: a demographic study in Nepal Reprod Health. 2010;7:15.

Transitional Government of Ethiopia [TGE], National population policy of Ethiopia. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: TGE 1993.

Gordon C, Wubshet T. Women’s education and modern contraceptive use in Ethiopia. Intern J Edu. 2011;3(1):E9.

Upadhyay UD, Karasek D. Women‘s empowerment and achievement of desired fertility in sub-Saharan Africa. DHS Working Papers No. 80. Calverton, Maryland, USA: ICF Macro, 2010.

Upadhyay UD, Karasek D. Women’s empowerment and ideal family size: An examination of DHS empowerment measures in sub-saharan africa, international perspectives on sexual and reproductive health. 2012;38(2).

Lee-Rife SM. Women's empowerment and reproductive experiences over the life course. Soc Sci Med. 2011:71(3):634-42.

Musick K, England P, Edgington S, Kangas N. Education differences in intended and unintended fertility. Social Forces. 2009;88(2):543-72.

Tuladhar S, Khanal KR., Lila KC, Ghimire PK, Onta K. Women's empowerment and spousal violence in relation to health outcomes in Nepal”: Further analysis of the 2011 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey. Calverton, Maryland, USA: Nepal Ministry of Health and Population, New ERA, and ICF International; 2013.

Gebreselassie, T. Spousal agreement on reproductive preferences in Sub-Saharan Africa. Calverton, Maryland: Macro International Inc. DHS Analytical Studies No. 10, 2008. Accessed on 28 October 2015.

Tadesse M, Teklie H, Yazew G, Gebreselassie T. Women’s empowerment as a determinant of contraceptive use in Ethiopia: Further Analysis of the 2011 Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey: ICF International Calverton, Maryland USA: MoFED and UNICEF Addis Ababa, Ethiopia ; August 2013.

Hemmings J, Wubshet T, Lemma S, Antoni T, Cherinet T. Ethiopian women’s perspectives on reproductive health: results from a PEER study in the Guraghe Zone. London: Marie Stopes International; 2008.

Corroon M, Speizer IS, Fotso JC, Akiode A, Saad A, Calhoun L, Irani L. The role of gender empowerment on reproductive health outcomes in urban Nigeria. Matern Child Health J. 2014;18(1):307-15.

Folaranmi, Olarenwaju O. Women empowerment as a determinant of investments in children in selected rural communities in Nigeria. An Intern Multidiscipl J. 2013;7(4):138-61.

Woldemicael, G. Women's autonomy and reproductive preferences in eritrea. J Biosoc Sci. 2009;41(2):161-81.

Ethiopian society of population studies. Gender inequality and women‘s empowerment. Addis Ababa. 2008. Accessed on 28 October 2015.

Central statistical agency [Ethiopia] and ORC macro: Ethiopia demographic and health survey 2011, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Calverton, Maryland, USA, 2011.