Income Generation and Empowerment Pathways for Rural Women of Jagusi Parish, Uganda

Robin Marsh, University of California, Berkeley
Chelsea Haley, University of California, Berkeley
Sandra Mirembe, Center for Population - Makerere University

This article contributes to the growing literature on women’s economic empowerment (WEE) with an empirical analysis of the potential empowerment pathways associated with income generation activities (IGAs) in the context of rural Uganda. A survey was administered to 84 randomly selected households in Jagusi Parish along with a card sorting game (CSG) where women picked locally-framed scenarios of well-being, decision-making and community engagement as ‘experienced’ or ‘aspired to experience’. Surveys were analyzed to determine correlations between IGAs and WEE proxies, while text analysis revealed what characterizes an ‘empowered’ woman in Jagusi. Findings show that some women who earn income experience a degree of economic empowerment through greater access and claim to assets and agency over key decisions, but many women engaged in IGAs are not economically independent relying on their partners, extended family and community to manage poverty. Gender discrimination and structural poverty remain major barriers to sustained improvements in women’s economic empowerment.

See paper.

  Presented in Session 56. Innovative Applications of Qualitative Methods in Population Research