Factors Influencing Women's Participation in Economic Activities in Uganda

Academic Paper, 2010

50 Pages, Grade: B







1.0 Back ground to the Study
1.1 Statement of the problem
1.2 General Objective
1.4 Specific Objectives
1.5 Hypotheses
1.6 Scope
1.6.1 Geographic Scope
1.6.2 Content Scope
1.7 Significance of the study
1.8 Conceptual Frame work


2.1 Introduction
2.2 Nature of Economic Activities
2.3 Status of Women in Uganda
2.4 Factors Influencing Women’s Participation in Economic Activities
2.5 Women and Education
2.7 Women and Credit
2.8 Defining Economic Development
2.8.1 Factors Affecting Economic Development
2.8.2 Women and Development


3.1 Introduction
3.2 Research Design
3.3 Choice of the Research Area
3.4 Sample Size and Selection
3.5 Sampling and Sampling Techniques
3.6 Data Types and Data Sources
3.6.1 Primary data
3.6.2 Secondary data
3.7 Instruments of Data Collection
3.7.2 Interviews
3.7.3 Focus Group Discussions
3.8 Data Processing and Analysis
3.9 Model Specification
3.10 Justification of the Variables


4.1 Introduction
4.2 Univariate and Bi-variate Analysis
4.2.1 Employment Status and Participation in Economic Activities
4.2.2 Factors Influencing Women’s Participation in Economic Activities
a) Marital status
b) Education level
c) Access to Capital
d) Accessibility of land
e) Access to Health facilities
f) Age
g) Number of Children
4.3 Multivariate Analysis
4.3.1 Assessing the Goodness Fit of the Model
4.3.2 Age
4.3.3 Marital Status
4.3.4 Access to land
4.3.5 Access to Capital
4.3.6 Number of Children
4.3.7 Level of Education
4.3.8 Access to Health Services
4.4 Possible Ways of Increasing Women’s Participation in Economic Activities in Uganda.

5.1 Introduction
5.2 Summary of Key Findings
5.3 Conclusion
5.4 General Recommendations
5.5 Suggestions for Further Research



The main objectives of the study were to find out factors influencing women’s participation in economic activities in Uganda. Catering for both the positive and the negative factors. The positive factors such as age, education level of the women, accessibility to land, access to capital, and access to health facilities of women encouraged women to participate in economic activities while the negative factors such as illiteracy, lack of capital, men refusing their wives to work hindered women from participating in economic activities. However, despite government’s efforts to promote women emancipation and gender equality, women are still lagging behind in the participation of economic activities.

It was found out that age, education, and access to land positively influenced the participation of women in economic activities. This was mainly because women who were mature in age had more responsibilities as compared to those who were young in age. Secondly, women who were educated had more knowledge and skills to enable them participate in economic activities as compared to the uneducated. Lastly, access to land increased productivity and was used as collateral to acquire credit. However, despite access to capital being one of the major factors, it negatively influenced women’s participation in economic activities since women feared these loans because of high interest rates and mis-use by their husbands.

Therefore, Government should emphasize more facilitation of women’s education to enable them acquire the necessary skills that would help them participate fully in economic activities and also enable them empower the girl child who has dropped out of school to further her education.



1.0 Back ground to the Study

In 2008, Uganda adopted its first National Action Plan (NAP). The NAP was developed by the Ministry of Gender Labor and Social Development and constitutes a part of a broader national strategic framework on the advancement of women; in particular, the five-year National Action Plan on Women (2007) which set out priorities in peacebuilding, conflict resolution and the rights of women and girls to live free from violence.

Participation in social science refers to different method for the public to express opinions and use influence concerning political, economic or other social decisions. According to Stasser and Titus (2007), participation stimulates the exchange and integration of information.

Mumford and Gustafson (2008) argued that participation produces the social support needed for new ideas to be pursued and implemented.

According to the National Action Plan on Women, Uganda gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1962, after decades of colonial rule by the British Empire. Uganda experienced a military dictatorship from 1971 until 1979, a civil war, which lasted from 1980 until 1986, as well as aprotracted conflictbetween the government and theLord’s Resistance Army, ongoing since 1987. Women have been deliberately targeted with sexual violence during these conflicts, and a study on displaced and conflict-affected populations in Ugandafoundthat women were twice as likely to demonstrate systems of post traumatic stress disorder as well as being four times as likely to show systems of depression.

In under developed countries women’s fundamental contributions in their households, food production systems and national economies are increasingly being acknowledged within Africa and by the international community. This is due to African women’s own energetic efforts to organize, articulate their concerns and make their voices heard (Luba, 2015).

Women’s participation in Economic activities is often in the informal sector and is largely invisible. These women contribute over 70% to the total agricultural labor force and perform many of the domestic tasks of family. Their workload typically ranges between 12 and 18 hours per day, yet the food produced is mainly for household consumption and therefore, generates no substantial income. The main source of discrepancy is women’s heavier commitment to their reproductive roles (nurturing) and the additional responsibility for the family food security. More over none of these activities are remunerated hence the contribution of women to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is not recorded. Despite these contributions, ownership of productive resources is only at 8% who have leasehold, and 7% actually own land.

Women’s lack of control over productive and assets is a systematic issue; inequity in marital status and property ownership intersects with cultural attitudes and beliefs to create formidable obstacles to change. The imperative to control women embodied in the question, “how can property own property” is underpinned by the fear that women become promiscuous and indulge in extramarital affairs if allowed to work. Men express the view that women will become “Uncontrollable”, “Unmanageable”, “unruly”, or disrespect men if they gain economic independence. They fear the allowing women to work may lead to family break up because women will abandon their husbands once they are not economically dependent on them (Amanda et al., 2006).

However, the Government of Uganda has put in efforts to fight gender inequality and promote women emancipation through setting up laws that amend rights of women. For example, various sections of the constitution of the republic of Uganda ban sex discrimination, guarantee gender equality, and mandate affirmative action in favor of women who were marginalized because of their gender that is to say, “women shall have the right to affirmative action for the purpose of redressing the imbalance created by history, tradition and custom.” Women shall be accorded full and equal dignity of the person with men.” Women shall have the right to equal treatment with men, rights shall include equal opportunities in political, economic and social activities.” (National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy No. XV Article 32 (1) of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda).

Women’s business associations have undertaken advocacy, networking, and training initiatives. The recent government initiative to integrate entrepreneurship courses into the education curriculum is laudable and should help mitigate the negative attitudes that women entrepreneurs believe currently affect their business operations. The Uganda Investment Authority also encouraged positive role model through the Distinguished Women Investor of the year Award at its annual awards ceremony. (Amanda et al., 2006)

1.1 Statement of the problem

According to the global report from master card index of women entrepreneurs 2020, there 39.6% business owners. Despite the efforts the government of Uganda has put in to promote women emancipation and gender equality, the participation of women in economic activities is still low as compared to men. Women have continuously lagged behind as far as participation in economic activities is concerned. For example, in most formal sectors men predominate, where they represent 51 percent of employees as compared to women at 35% (Uganda Bureau of Statistics, 2016), while most women workers are self-employed or work as unpaid family workers. Women represent nearly 40 percent of business owners with registered premises in the Uganda Business Register, as compared to their male counterparts with 60 percent. It is therefore, not clear why women’s participation in economic activities is low amidst government’s effort to promote women. This study therefore attempted to find out the factors influencing women’s participation in economic activities.

1.2 General Objective

The main objective of the study is to find out the factors influencing women’s participation in economic activities in Mukono Town council.

1.4 Specific Objectives

- To find out how social economic factors influence women participation in economic activities.
- To find out how the level of education of women influence women participation in economic activities.
- To find out how access to land influence women participation in economic activities.
- To find out how access to capital influences women participation in economic activities.
- To find out how access to health facilities influences women participation in economic activities.

1.5 Hypotheses

- The study is guided by the hypotheses that,
- Socio-economic factors have no influence on women’s participation in economic activities.
- Level of education has no influence on women’s participation in economic activities.
- Access to land has no influence on women’s participation in economic activities.
- Access to capital has no influence on women’s participation in economic activities.
- Access to health facilities has no influence on women’s participation in economic activities.

1.6 Scope

1.6.1 Geographic Scope

The study was conducted in Mukono Town council in Mukono District 22km east of Kampala the capital city of Uganda along the Kampala Nairobi high way. It is made up of four wards covering 41 villages with population of 50,000 people residing in the town council. On average, the town council has a 1.1 female ratio and a household size of 6 people. The town council being so close to Kampala city is a cosmopolitan town with the Baganda being the dominant ethnic group. Out of the 41 villages, sixteen (16) villages were chosen and these include: Nsuube ‘A’, Nsuube ‘B’, Nabuti, Lower Nabuti, Upper Nabuti, Central Nabuti, Lower Kauga, Upper Kauga, Ssaza, Kitete, Hamu Mukasa, Kasangalabi, Butebe, Mulago, Nasuuti, Kavule. These villages were mainly chosen because they had more women participating in economic activities as revealed in the 2002 population census that was out in Mukono District, (UBOS 2006)

1.6.2 Content Scope

The Researcher’s emphasis was mainly to find out factors influencing Women’s participation in economic activities and their suggestions on how to increase their participation in economic activities.

1.7 Significance of the study

1) The study will help in fostering economic development in form of strengthening incentives for human capital by government to enable women acquire adult education which will equip them with knowledge and skills.
2) The study will also help government to create fair and equal access to productive resources such as land to increase women’s production levels.
3) The study will help government to design policies and investments that redress gender disparities in access to capital and strengthen incentives for gender equality in economic participation.

1.8 Conceptual Frame work

The conceptual framework shows all the factors influencing women’s participation in economic activities and the relationship between the dependent and independent variables.

Figure 1 Conceptual Frame Work

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Intervening Variables

Source: By the Researcher

According to the conceptual framework, women’s participation in economic activities is the dependent variable.

The independent variables include social economic factors such as; marital status, number of children, age and level of education. It is perceived that the marital status of women, their age and the number of children that they have are likely to increase responsibility of the need to provide for the family. Therefore, these factors influence access to knowledge and skills needed to carry out economic activities, hence enhance labor productivity.

Other independent variables include; access to land, and access to health facilities. Access to land enables women to acquire collateral and increases agricultural production thereby participating in economic activities. Access to capital in form of savings or credit is used to start up income generating activities hence encouraging participation. In addition, women’s access to health facilities is an important factor to consider since it contributes to growth of human capital and ability to participate in economic activities.

The intervening variables include the legal frame work to favor women to enable equal opportunities; the political will to encourage and support women and continued affirmative action.



2.1 Introduction

This chapter reveals the nature of economic activities, status of women in Uganda, factors influencing women’s participation in economic development activities, women and education, women and land ownership, women and credit, women and health, the definition of economic development, factors affecting economic development, women and development, women’s contribution towards economic development.

2.2 Nature of Economic Activities

a) The Public Sector

An interesting finding by Cleo Thompson 2010 from the research was that the positive role governments have played in attempting to increase women’s economic participation. One might even observe that government has been a more active and effective force in promoting gender diversity than business has, and legislative responses have had a more positive impact on women’s economic participation than responses by the private sector have.

According to the UBOS report 2016, 35% females were employed in the formal sector employment while 51% were their male counterparts and in the category of skilled workers, their share was only 26%. The 2002 Uganda population census points to more involvement by women of which 63% of working women are self-employed, 28% employed by a relative and 9% by a non-relative. This can be explained by a change in trade and commerce the fact that Uganda women are more than seriously engaged in business. On the other hand this may also be disadvantageous to women because of the less regulated informal sector.

c) The informal Sector

Women are more likely than men to manage micro enterprises often from their own home. Thus, they have the disadvantage of smaller size, higher risk aversion, local orientation and low capacity to integrate into formal and distant markets. Women thus may be ambivalent about expanding a particular enterprise, any intervention needs to be alert to women’s real needs and constraints and to work with them to devise a solution (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, 2009).

Generally, women are more depended on farm self-employment than non-farm and formal employment as compared to men. This is mainly due to higher illiteracy levels among women limited access to higher and vocational training and mostly in rural areas early marriages and pregnancies hinder young girls and women’s self-advancement (National Action Plan on Women, 2007)

2.3 Status of Women in Uganda

The status of women in Uganda today is received in the context of capabilities (health and education), opportunities (employment, access to economic services, and time) and the levels of empowerment (ownership of productive assets, participation in governance and access to justice). According to the National Household survey of 1992, 1999, and 2003 by Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development, women were more likely to fall sick as compared to men. The literacy rate was also unequal, with women having a rate far below the national average. Even after the introduction of Universal Primary Education, the enrollment has been nearly equal for girls and boys however the dropout rate is extremely high particularly for the girls and the situation is worse at secondary and tertiary level. When it comes to employment, thee estimates suggest that women participate less in the labour market than men do and their wages have been found to be significantly lower than men’s. More females are unemployed most especially in the urban areas. Then consumption patterns show that female-headed household spends disproportionately more on school fees, which reaffirms the fact that women spend most of their incomes on improving the welfare of their household members. The current financial products do not favor agriculture the main employer of women. Actually, most women accessing credit are in service sector, however only 20% of overall micro finance activities are rural based to help rural women. On the other hand, the urban women who are benefiting from micro lending do receive small amounts with very high interest rates, which hinder them from participation in economic activities.

Tuyizere (2007) asserts that poverty is still a big problem for women in Uganda and this is a result of gender distribution of labor and responsibility at home. In most societies’ women do agricultural work yet receive no money out of it and because they are less educated or do not receive vocation training, they have no access to productive resources. Therefore, this means that employment, education and accessibility to productive resources positively influence women’s participation in economic activities.

According to National Action Plan for Women, the Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were adopted by 189 Member States of United Nations as a common agenda for the members to work towards a better world for all. The Millennium Declaration recognized that meaningful and sustainable reductions in poverty levels depends on the willingness of our leaders and all people of the World to confront the reality that half other world’s population, girls and women have been systematically subordinated and disadvantaged in many different ways and therefore concrete steps are needed to eliminate this inequality.

2.4 Factors Influencing Women’s Participation in Economic Activities

Many times, women are left to play secondary supportive roles in livestock production and hold subordinate roles to fathers, husbands and sons. They are always excluded from public life and other economic activities while their identities as pastoralist gender relations as well as the dynamism within pastoralist societies are limited Hodgson, 200Regulatory Environment Cleo Thompson,2010

Gender inequalities

Gender inequalities can be attributed to limited access and control over productive resources, access to financial services, insufficient access to education, lack of skill, limited access to technology, cultural impediments and other constraints limiting employment options and participation in decision making. All these serve to seriously constrain women’s ability to effectively participate in and benefit from economic development. (Institute of economic affairs, 2008)

Societal perceptions

Across all countries, views of gender and the life roles played by men and women are informed by deep social traditions. In almost all societies, women have occupied the primary caretaker/ homemaker role, while men generally took the role of provider. As women increasingly come to occupy a provider role too, society’s perceptions of how the trade-offs between women’s caretaker and provider roles should be weighed is changing, and many women themselves struggle each day to achieve a satisfying balance.

Oladejo et al. (2011) investigated the impact of women access to economic resources on their participation in agricultural production. The study showed that household size and marital status influence the participation of women in agricultural production. The study showed also that factors such as social capital, landed-property and cash, as well as savings, are central in determining the level of participation of women in agricultural production possibilities.

Tuyizire (2007) asserts that assumptions about social responsibilities of women and men affected employment practices in both public and private sector for instance, it is assumed that only men support families, rather than both men and women or sometimes women alone. This leads to the idea that a wife’s income supplemental to that of their husbands and consequently women’s wages are generally lower than those of men are. Actually, in some societies or families the male head is considered the primary institution and wife and children subordinates. Women are assumed dependent on men and this assumption leads to government policies failing to reorganize the role played by women in the economy. These assumptions are not necessarily true because in Uganda today, we have more female –headed households than male and the studies show that women’s income has greatly helped to improve on the welfare of their families.

In a number of countries, women still lack independent rights to own land, manage property, conduct business or even travel without their husband’s consent. In much of sub-Saharan Africa, women obtain land rights chiefly through their husbands as long as marriage endures and often lose their rights when they are divorced or widowed. Gender disparities constrain the sets of choices available to women in many aspects of life hence limiting their ability to participate or benefit from development. (World Bank Publication on gender equality 2nd edition 2001). This is true because the studies show that women still lack independent rights to ownership of property.

Lack of markets and exploitation, particularly due to poor infrastructure, administration requirements and poor organizing of farmer groups pose serious different constraints of poor women and men. Women mainly sell quick perishables like tomatoes, fresh beans and peas, vegetables in order to generate income to meet their immediate needs (NAPW, 2007).


Excerpt out of 50 pages


Factors Influencing Women's Participation in Economic Activities in Uganda
Catalog Number
ISBN (Book)
factors, influencing, women, participation, economic, activities, uganda
Quote paper
Prossie Bbaale Mukasa (Author), 2010, Factors Influencing Women's Participation in Economic Activities in Uganda, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1214516


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