Partners or Rivals? Exploring the Relationship between Men’s and Women’s Empowerment in Bangladesh

Sonia Akter, Andrew Francis-tan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    The aim of this study is to investigate the statistical relationship between husbands’ empowerment and wives’ empowerment. Using panel data from Bangladesh that include over 4,000 husband-wife pairs, we regress husband’s empowerment on wife’s empowerment and a set of covariates. We use a domain-based framework, similar to the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index, to capture the multidimensional nature of empowerment. The findings reveal that the interplay between spouses’ empowerment varies across domains. Husbands and wives act as partners with regard to community influence and daily workload adequacy. Yet, they act as rivals with regard to input in productive decisions and ownership of assets. Additionally, we identify variables that are consistently associated with husbands’ and wives’ empowerment. For wives, their income and employment are positive correlates of empowerment. For husbands, their wives’ employment is a negative correlate, whereas household wealth is a positive correlate. Notably, the results also suggest that the gender asset gap rises with household wealth.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)906-929
    JournalThe Journal of Development Studies
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


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