Socio-economic Status and Women Empowerment in Rural Tanzania: A Case of Onion Value-Chain in Simanjiro District
This paper explores the linkage between women socio-economic status and their empowerment. A total of 402 women completed a household questionnaire, which
was supplemented with focus group discussions and key informant interviews. Principal Component Analysis (PCA), using SPSS version 16, was applied to the socio-economic data to obtain an index as a proxy for household socio-economic status. A composite women empowerment index was constructed to gauge women empowerment in different spheres, and F-test was used to compare the relationship between women’s socio-economic status and their empowerment. It was found that many respondents were categorized into low to medium levels of empowerment. Relatively, high levels of empowerment were found in aspects of household economic consultation, freedom of movement and political autonomy. Asset ownership andhousing conditions revealed that the poorest were below average in most of the items or services in which the better-off had access or possessed. The relationship between socio-economic status and women empowerment was statistically significant (P<0.05), implying that efforts to improve women's wellbeing that focus on income and asset accumulation have the potential to empower women. Therefore the government, nongovernmental organisations and development programmes espousing to empower women should improve their approach to ensure the poorest also gain opportunities to participate in onion value-chains and in other development interventions.
Keywords: women empowerment, socio-economic status, empowerment index, wellbeing