Research project: PhD Juliette De Vestel
Attitudes towards women and fertility: the relationship among women and men in sub-Saharan Africa
2020-2026 | VUB
The literature shows that several countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) experience a delayed fertility transition. This study contributes to the literature by a focus on cultural determinants related to women’s position in society. The impact of women’s empowerment has shown to be very context specific in SSA. It is our goal to investigate the contextual factors behind this differential impact from one country to another. Both men and women are included in the study population as the position of women in society is relative to that of men. The inclusion of men in cross-country fertility research is relatively new, while literature shows that it is essential to include them when analysing the fertility transition.
First, we will investigate in a cross-country multivariate regression analysis how indicators of cultural values (relating to the position of women in society) impact the ideal number of children among young men and women using the DHS-data in several ‘laggards’, i.e. SSA countries with a delayed fertility transition. A comparison will also be made among young men and women in urban and rural areas. Then, we will investigate how this impact of cultural values on the ideal number of children changed over time across cohorts. After that, we will investigate whether contextual factors can explain the differential impact of attitudes towards women on fertility across sub-Saharan African countries. Finally, we will investigate the impact of spouse differences regarding fertility preferences (son/daughter preference) on the actual fertility. This study will enable us to determine whether the preference of the husband or the wife is more decisive.