Changes in Women’s Empowerment in the Household, Women’s Diet Diversity, and Their Relationship Against the Background of COVID-19 in Southern Bangladesh
The COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh, associated public health measures, and people’s reactions are projected to have caused job losses among women, a decline in women’s empowerment and reduced women’s diet diversity. Using a November 2020 telephone survey to re-interview adult female respondents of a November 2019 in-person survey, we find that, contrary to expectations, more women found than lost jobs and women’s diet diversity increased over the year partly marked by the COVID-19 pandemic. As expected, women’s involvement in food purchase decisions declined. We find that change in women’s involvement in food purchase decisions is not statistically related to change in women’s outside employment. Gaining employment outside the home, however, is associated with a decrease in women’s autonomy over use of household income. Change in women’s diet diversity is positively related with change in women’s involvement in food purchase decisions but negatively with change in women’s autonomy over income use.