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Young women in the agricultural sector in Uganda: lessons from the Youth Forward Initiative

Research report

Written by Carmen Leon-Himmelstine

Hero image description: A woman prepares garden soil for planting vegetables in rural Uganda, 2014. Image credit:CherylRamalho / Shutterstock.com

In Uganda, more women are primarily engaged in agriculture than men, yet female farmers face more challenges in starting successful agribusinesses than their male counterparts.

This is partly determined by discriminatory gender norms that limit their access to productive resources (such as land, labour, equipment and economic resources). Together with responsibilities in unpaid care and domestic work, along with their exclusion from leadership and decision-making positions, social dynamics negatively shape the trajectories of women's participation in agriculture.

This report explores the experiences of young women in Uganda, finding that a diverse set of harmful social and cultural attitudes around gender play a key role in limiting farming opportunities for women in rural communities. Taking a youth and gender perspective, with analysis of government policy and interviews with a range of youth participants and regional agricultural stakeholders, this research provides lessons for future programmes that seek to support young people to build sustainable livelihoods in farming.

This report is published by the Youth Forward Learning Partnership, supported by the Mastercard Foundation and led by ODI’s Digital Societies programme with Participatory Development Associates in Ghana and partners in Uganda. Youth Forward supports young people in Ghana and Uganda to get jobs, grow their businesses and access finance to expand opportunities available to them. The Learning Partnership works to develop an evidence-informed understanding of the needs of young people and how the initiative can best meet those needs.

Carmen Leon-Himmelstine and Sanyu Phiona, with Alexandra Löwe, Georgia Plank and Nhung Vu