Maternal Sexual Empowerment and Sexual and Reproductive Outcomes among Female Adolescents: Evidence from a Cross-Sectional Study in Ecuador

Luis Quijano-Ruiz, Ecuadorian Development Research Lab
Marco Antonio Haro, Pennsylvania State University

Methods: This study uses data from the 2018 National Health and Nutrition Survey of Ecuador (Ensanut), a cross-sectional survey in Ecuador that measures maternal health and nutrition. We examine whether mothers’ sexual empowerment––measured as a woman’s autonomy in sexual relationships and her ability to turn down sex and demand contraception from her partner––is predictive of sexual and reproductive outcomes among female adolescent children. Logistic regression was performed to test this association. Results: Results showed that having a mother who lacked sexual empowerment increased the odds of early sexual initiation. Girls who had a mother who had a teenage birth were more likely to experience teenage pregnancy themselves. Conclusions: Mothers may influence daughters’ attitudes towards sex through their own demonstration of sexual empowerment. This research demonstrates that a lack of maternal sexual empowerment can be a risk factor of early sexual initiation, teenage pregnancy, and lack of contraception use among female adolescents. More research is needed to confirm the robustness of these results and analyze other forms of sexual empowerment.

Keywords: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Demographic and social surveys, Family planning and contraception, Gender

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  Presented in Session 178. Empowerment and Equity in Sexual and Reproductive Health Care Services