Female labour participation and infant mortality in Nigeria: implication for the sustainable development goal 3

Yulong Zheng, Zhonghang Gong, Emmanuel O. Ajayi, Timothy A. Aderemi

Abstract

Over the time, link between female labour participation and infant mortality has become a subject of debate among scholars and policymakers in developing countries. This subject becomes more critical for a country like Nigeria where there is a persistent challenge to attain minimal global infant mortality rates by 2030, and where over 47% of female working population is unemployed. Against this background, this study utilizes fully modified ordinary least squares to estimate the relationship between female labour participation and infant mortality in Nigeria. The results show that at least 98 children per 1,000 births died in Nigeria between 1990 and 2020. Similarly, over 47% of female working population is currently unemployed in Nigeria. Female labour participation and infant mortality possess a significant negative relationship. Consequently, participation of women in the labour market has a significant effect in reducing infant mortality in Nigeria. In the same vein, female employment contributed to the reduction of infant mortality, though not substantial in nature. As such, the Nigerian policymakers should create a conducive environment that will facilitate participation of more women in the Nigerian labour market so that there will be further reduction of infant mortality in order to achieve the SDG 3. (Afr J Reprod Health 2024; 28 [3]: 30-37).

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