Women's Empowerment and Demographic Processes: Moving Beyond Cairo

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There is general consensus among the international population community that the commitment achieved at the International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo, 1994) to womens empowerment, along with the related goals of improving womens reproductive health and securing their reproductive rights, represented a paradigm shift in the discourse about population and development, even though there are differences in view whether this is a positive change or not. But while the rhetoric about womens empowerment is pervasive, the concept remains ill-defined, and its relationship to demographic processes has not been well articulated, either theoretically or empirically. This book brings together leading researchers and policy advocates to explore whether the concept of womens empowerment is indeed useful for an understanding of key demographic processes. Its contributors identify new directions for demographic research from the analysis of available data that measure womens empowerment, and point to the implications for population-related policies. Demographic research has focused relatively little to date on gender, let alone the question of power. Yet critiques of available data argue that traditional womens-status indicators, such as education and employment, are often not sensitive enough to capture the nuances of gender power relations and the ways in which they govern womens and mens reproductive behaviour. This book moves forward to the complex task of conceptualizing, measuring, and analysing womens empowerment. In laying this groundwork, it provides critically important insights into the causes and consequences of population change, including migration. The book combines conceptual and empirical research with policy directions and considers the relevance of economic, social, and cultural contexts for the health and well-being of women, adolescents, and children. The countries under study are of both the North and the South. This book represents state-of-the-art knowledge on the two-way linkages between womens empowerment and demographic processes.