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Journal of Population Sciences

Table 4 Empowerment indicators

From: The relationship between women’s individual empowerment and the support to female genital cutting continuation: a study on 7 African countries


Theoretical dimension

Theoretical motivation



Educational level


Education is a necessary but not sufficient condition for the availability of choices

Highest educational level (V106)

No education (ref.), Primary, Secondary, Higher

Women’s Experience of FGM/C


This is an indicator of the norm inside a woman’s family and its strength therein, because the practice is performed before puberty, and cannot be attributed to an individual choice. Thus, we interpret it as the possibility to choose, namely a resource

Respondent is circumcised (G102)

No (ref.), Yes, Don’t know

Intimate partner violence (IPV) justification


This variable indicates a lack of agency that supports disempowerment, as well as the inability to achieve equal power in the couple*

This indicates the number of occasions the woman justifies IPV. It is built as the combination of variables V744A to V744E (Beating justified if the wife goes out without telling husband, neglects the children, argues with husband, refuses to have sex with husband, burns the food)

Never (the woman never justifies IPV; reference); Sometimes (the women indicates 1 or 2 reasons), Often (3–5 reasons)

Work experience


The work experience may lead to autonomy in personal life

Combination of variables V714 (Respondent currently working) and V741 (Type of earnings from respondent's work)

Not working (ref.), Unpaid work (Not paid, In-kind only), Paid work (Cash only, Cash and in-kind)

Age at first cohabitation


An indicator of early marriages and consequently of fewer life possibilities

Age at first cohabitation or union (V511)

In years



It represents the capacity to decide autonomously in different contexts**

According to data availability, three separate domains were available: the person who usually decides on visits to family (V743D) or relatives, large household purchases (V743B; Additional file 1: Table S4), and respondent’s health care (V743A; Additional file 1: Table S5)

Respondent and husband/partner (ref.), Respondent alone, Someone else (including the partner alone)

Unmet need for contraception


Intended to represent the impossibility to choose and follow a personal wish

Recoding of V624

Unmet need (ref.), No need, Using a method

The ideal number of children


It is an indicator of the personal willingness to adhere to the communitarian norm of the family

The ideal number of children (V613)


  1. *Such dimension is taken from Ewerling (2017)
  2. **Ibidem