What factors explain women’s empowerment? Decision-making among small-scale farmers in Uganda

Authored by: Mila Sell and Nicholas Minot

Categories: Human Rights, Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Economic Participation, Human Development
Country: Uganda
Region: Sub-Saharan Africa
Year: 2018
Citation: Sell, Mila, and Nicholas Minot. “What Factors Explain Women's Empowerment? Decision-Making among Small-Scale Farmers in Uganda.” Women's Studies International Forum 71 (October 2018).

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Evidence from studies on women’s empowerment suggests that when women have a larger role in decision-making, household well-being improves. Understanding patterns influencing women’s empowerment in rural areas is therefore important. We use gender-disaggregated survey data from rural Uganda to explore individual and household characteristics associated with women’s empowerment. We find links between empowerment and age, education, proximity to a paved road as well as the marketed share of crop production. Age and education are associated with higher empowerment, but equality in education between the spouses is more important than the average level of education. Remoteness is associated with lower women’s empowerment, as is greater commercial orientation in crop production. This may be due to the fact that men are more involved in cash-crop activities, giving them an advantage through higher income. One policy implication is that education needs to target both girls and boys, especially in remote areas, putting special focus on girl’s involvement in value added activities.