Maternal Employment and Stunting in Indonesia
Keywords:maternal employment, stunting, ordinal logistic regression
The global occurrence of high stunting rates and the rising participation of women in the labour force has prompted researchers to investigate whether stunting is related to mothers’ participation in the labour force. Similarly, in Indonesia, women's employment opportunities have improved, and the stunting rate has remained relatively high. The question is whether stunting is related to maternal employment. More specifically, is maternal employment related to a higher stunting rate? This paper answers this question by employing a 2021 nationwide survey, encompassing low- and high-income households, enriched with an anthropometric study to measure stunting. It uses an ordinal logistic regression analysis to examine the relationship between maternal employment and stunting. The results show that maternal employment is not related to higher stunting. Even maternal employment is related to reduced stunting for maternal employment in formal sectors. The results may imply the need to expand formal sectors while anticipating a rising female labour force participation rate. The growth of formal sectors needs to be accompanied by the implementation of nutrition scaling-up initiatives for children under the age of two, as child growth undergoes rapid development in the initial two years of life.
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