I Sell My Labor Now: Gender and Livelihood Diversification in Uganda

Dolan, Catherine (2004) I Sell My Labor Now: Gender and Livelihood Diversification in Uganda. Canadian Journal of Development Studies, 25 (4). pp. 665-683.


During the 1990s, the economic reform policies adopted by the Ugandan government delivered some of the highest growth rates in Africa. However, despite Uganda’s impressive macroeconomic performance, poverty remains intractable among certain groups such as rural female-headed households (FHHS). Recent studies have shown the important role that diversification into non-farm activities can play in contributing to poverty reduction and enhancing the livelihood options of the rural poor. This paper explores the linkages between household headship and livelihood diversification in three Uganda districts: Mbale, Kamuli, and Mubende. While households are diversifying into a range of non-farm activities, the gender of the household head differentiates households’ abilities to construct adequate livelihoods. In particular, female household heads face distinct constraints stemming from differential access to productive resources and cultural norms, which mediate their access to livelihood strategies that are more lucrative. This paper argues that achieving poverty reduction and income security for FHHS requires extending the focus of a livelihoods analysis to the ways in which cultural values, political interests, and social relations circumscribe access to economic options.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Labour and Employment; Africa; Ethnic Groups; Development and Technology; Employment and Labour; Cultural Roles
Centre: Faculty of Marketing
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2012 20:36
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2015 14:05
URI: http://eureka.sbs.ox.ac.uk/id/eprint/1015

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