Collaborative Research: Women's Empowerment, Food Security and Farm Productivity

Project: Research project

Project Details


This project investigates the implications of development initiatives that seek to empower women and enhance gender equity in developing countries, using the dairy sector in Uganda as a field site. In Uganda, as in many developing countries, women dominate the agricultural labor force, yet gender-based inequalities constrain their ability to enhance farm productivity and profitability. A key development strategy to close the gender gap focuses on empowering women within agricultural value chains, the wide-ranging set of activities that connect farmers to markets. Yet little is known about the effects of value chain development initiatives for empowering female farmers and addressing gender-based inequalities. This research uses a value chain approach and geospatial analysis to examine gender mainstreaming efforts in Uganda by comparing dairy value chains with active gender and-development programs with dairy value chains that do not have gender-specific programs. The results from this study will provide a better understanding of how female farmer participation in the marketplace facilitates women?s empowerment and improves farm productivity and food security in developing countries.

The objectives of this research are to: 1) Identify and measure how gender mainstreaming efforts affect women's participation in the value chain, gender equity in the household, and gender equity in the community; 2) Analyze the spatial and geographic consequences of women's empowerment at the individual, household, and community levels; and 3) Evaluate how examining gender within a spatial context assists in decision making for development programs. To accomplish this, a mixed method research approach will be used including: 1) surveys of female and male farmers engaged in the value chain; 2) in-depth interviews with female and male farmers from households engaged in the value chain, as well as key stakeholders throughout the value chain; 3) geospatial analysis; and 4) a randomized experiment. By conducting a theory directed, empirically grounded analysis of pro-poor value chain projects, this research can inform and shape the decisions of donor organizations, development practitioners, the private sector, and policy makers interested in targeting vulnerable populations through market based initiatives, as well as academics working in the areas of agriculture, gender, and development.

Effective start/end date5/1/154/30/18


  • National Science Foundation: $84,887.00


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