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Date: Spring 2021
From: Journal of Developing Areas(Vol. 55, Issue 2)
Publisher: Tennessee State University
Document Type: Report
Length: 3,587 words
Lexile Measure: 1510L

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Abstract :

Historically, women's contributions to the economic, political, and social well-being of a society have been dramatically devalued. It is only in the last fifty years that the thinking towards the role of women has shifted. Today, there is general global consensus that female empowerment is "smart economics" and that gender equality has a positive effect on economic growth and human development. The inverse relationship, that economic growth has a positive effect on advancing gender equality is more controversial and understudied. To gain a broader picture of the role of women in economic development, as well as a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between economic growth and gender equality, this paper situates women within the human development paradigm and first explores the notion of economic empowerment. A discussion of the importance of women's empowerment to economic development follows. With this framework laid, the context of economic development and gender equity in East Africa is explored, followed by two specific case studies of Ethiopia and Uganda. This paper draws several conclusions about the role of women in the economic development trajectories of Ethiopia and Uganda, namely that discrimination and marginalization of women in Ethiopia and Uganda has limited both women's roles economic development and impeded their human development. In the Ethiopian and Ugandan economies, women do not participate in high growth sectors and a majority of women, if employed, work in the agriculture sector with substantially unequal access and control over productive resources. In both nations, girls are expected to attend less school than boys, resulting in lower literacy compared with their male counterparts. In health, life expectancy has improved substantially in both Ethiopia and Uganda and girls have a higher life expectancy than boys at birth. Despite said advances, fertility rates remain astronomically high in both Ethiopia and Uganda, which curbs (sustained) economic growth potential and women's empowerment. This evidence suggests that if Ethiopia and Uganda significantly increase economic and educational opportunities for women, while maintaining gains in healthcare, fertility rates will decrease and more sustained economic growth can occur, which will ultimately have positive gains for women's empowerment and for development. JEL Classifications: D6, J16, N17, O1, Keywords: Economic Development, Women's Issues, Gender Equality, Ethiopia, Uganda Corresponding Author's Email Address:

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A641753927