The Impact of Religion on Women Empowerment as a Millennium Development Goal in Africa

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Africa, Christianity, Culture, Development, Gender, Islam, Indigenous religion, Millennium development goal, Tradition, Women empowerment

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The study examines the impact of religion on women empowerment. Three religions, indigenous African, Islam and Christianity, comprising Africa’s triple heritage, are considered. The hypothesized relationships are confirmed. Christianity correlates with each of the four Development Targets specified for women empowerment under the third of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including raising the: (1) percentage of school-aged girls in school, (2) female adult literacy rates, (3) female share of non-agricultural employment, and (4) female representation in government. African indigenous religion correlates with Target #3. Islam is inversely linked to each of the four Targets. A composite index incorporating values on these Targets was developed and employed as the dependent variable in a multiple regression model. The model is statistically significant, and confirms the hypothesis of a link between women empowerment and religion. Therefore, any meaningful effort to promote women empowerment in Africa must account for the continent’s three main religions.

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Social Indicators Research, v. 107, issue 1, p. 1-18