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Published on Mar 7, 2012
In a new report titled "Reaching New Heights: The Case for Measuring Women's Empowerment," CARE sounds the call for gathering more evidence in the movement to empower women and girls worldwide.
It does so by highlighting the astounding results of SHOUHARDO, a program to reduce malnutrition among more than 2 million of the poorest people in Bangladesh. Researchers wondered how child stunting, a measure of the shortfall in growth due to malnutrition, could have plummeted 28 percent in less than four years, even amid a crop-crushing cyclone and food price spikes. By pouring through detailed data collected under SHOUHARDO they had one clear answer: women's empowerment.
Researchers found that women who participated in empowerment interventions to help them fight sexual harassment, move about their communities more freely and gain a greater say in household decisions were less likely to have stunted children than women who only received direct nutrition interventions such as regular food rations. In other words, the children of empowered women actually grew taller.