Women’s empowerment refers to the process of providing women with greater access to vital resources – such as education, employment, and health care – for the purpose of increasing their ability to control their own affairs, and to reduce women’s domination by men (Solanke, 2015). For the purposes of this rapid review on reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) programmes, the focus is on links of such programmes with women and girl’s empowerment; in terms of power (education and rights) and equality in health. This takes into account mothers (including adolescents), children, and health workforces in RMNCAH programmes (e.g. skilled birthing assistants and/or midwives) – the majority of which are female. Attention is given to DFID priority countries; however, successful examples of empowerment campaigns and accountability programmes from other countries are also included.
K4D helpdesk reports provide summaries of current research, evidence and lessons learned. This report was commissioned by the UK Department for International Development.