Factors Limiting Rural Women’s Involvement in the Economy in Eastern Oromia, Ethiopia
Rural women in Oromia engage in different economic activities that contribute tremendously to the livelihood of their families. Nevertheless, rural women‟s contribution to the rural economy is far behind expectation due to many challenges. This paper, therefore, intends to investigate the factors that hamper rural women‟s involvement in the economy with particular emphasis on the rural women in eastern Oromia. In this study, both quantitative and qualitative research methods were employed. The major barriers to women‟s involvement in the economy were identified using interview schedule, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and non-participatory observations. The finding indicates that factors emanating from the socio-cultural traditions of the community such as men‟s view towards women, women‟s view of themselves, the burden on women in childbearing and rearing, women‟s lack of access to valuable resources and education have daunting effects on women‟s involvement in the economy. Moreover, the finding also shows that the religion of the community which also upholds patriarchal values has a detrimental effect on women‟s involvement in the economy. Hence, the study recommends that improving the involvement of rural women in the economy requires the transformation of the cultural traditions and religious outlooks of the community, women‟s practical access to resources particularly land. Above all, the study recommends that there should be a sound policy framework that can ensure the education of both men and women to bring about the actual emancipation of women in the economic sphere.
Keywords: Economy; Rural; Women