All for One and One for All? Women’s Relative Power and Maternal-Child Health in Haiti

Jennifer Toller Erausquin, University of California, Los Angeles

Using data from the 2000 Demographic and Health Survey in Haiti, this paper examines whether, controlling for women’s age, education, and household socioeconomic level, women’s relative power in the household predicts the nutritional status of women and their children age 0-5 years. In contrast with previous studies, this study uses multiple economic and social measures of intra-household power: 1) control over resources, 2) asset ownership, and 3) perceived decision-making ability. In addition, community-level gender norms are included in the regression model. Outcomes of interest include anthropometric measures of chronic and acute malnutrition: stunting, underweight, and anemia. Preliminary models indicate multiple measures of relative power, bargaining factors, and community gender norms predict malnutrition among both women and children. This study’s key contribution to the literature on household dynamics and family health is its examination of women’s relative power in a developing country context where polygamy and non-coresidence of spouses is common.

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Presented in Poster Session 5