The Context, Causes, and Cultural Valuation of Yoroba and Baganda Women's Participation in the Public Economy

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This paper examines participation in the public economy among two groups of African women, the Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria and the Baganda of central Uganda, during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The analysis considers many kinds of economic activity other than growing food for one’s own family, including independent income-generating work and salaried or waged employment. For the Yoruba, discussion focuses on the period between around 1820 and 1960, by which point the major features of women’s roles for the rest of the century were already in place. For the Baganda, however, we concentrate on the decades after 1970, for it was only then that many women entered work outside the home. This comparative account argues that the patterns of women’s economic engagement were shaped by the interplay of three factors: the demands and opportunities presented by the context within which they lived; the specific reasons that led individual women to enter the public economy; and how their culture assessed their roles.

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  • 11/12/2018
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