Dr. Gloria Essilfie, Coordinator of the Takoradi Learning Centre at the Ghana Communication Technology University (GCTU), has been awarded a prestigious international journal award for her co-authored article entitled ‘Women’s empowerment and child health outcomes in Ghana’. Dr. Essilfie’s paper was adjudged the top-cited paper in the Africa Development Review for 2020-2021 and co-authored with Joshua Sebu and Samuel Annim – who is a Professor of Economics and the Government Statistician.
Commenting on the award, Dr. Gloria Essilfie, who is an Economics lecturer, expressed delight at the recognition: first because she believes their research focussed on an extremely crucial developmental issue; and secondly because she entered academia with an avowed intent to change the narrative around good research on women empowerment only coming from the global north. She is also excited to have had the opportunity to collaborate with seasoned economists and data-science scholars from Ghana.
On the award-winning journal article itself, Gloria noted that women empowerment has been a major contributor to the nutritional outcome of children, since women are primary caregivers and can influence their children’s nutritional status both directly and indirectly through childcare practices.
The focus of their study was therefore to conduct an econometric analysis to unearth the determinants of child malnutrition in Ghana: “By testing whether the mother’s empowerment as measured by mother’s years of schooling relative to partner, domestic violence and mother’s decision-making on the health of the child and other household factors (including those related with children, infrastructure, household and policy) are connected with children’s nutritional status”.
The article showed that children with mothers who are relatively better-educated tend to have better nutritional status. The study also found that lack of women’s empowerment is associated with child malnutrition.
The article concluded by noting that children with mothers who have less empowerment are likely to have poor nutritional status compared to their counterparts. Overall, the article also demonstrated the importance of education, autonomy and domestic violence as critical factors for children’s improved nutritional status. The study recommended that the Ministry for Gender and Social Protection in Ghana should educate male partners on the need for women’s participation in decision‐making at the household level, as well as making formal education accessible to women.
Published by Wiley, the Africa Development Review is a professional journal devoted to the study and analysis of development policy in Africa. Published four times a year for the African Development Bank, the Review emphasises policy relevance of research findings and is a most revered outlet for African Developmental Policy Research.
The Ghana Communication Technology University is a leading Public University in Ghana focussed on information technology course-delivery and research that spans communication management, information technology, computer science, engineering, information systems and development policy issues.