Confronting the Wall of Patriarchy: Does Participatory Intrahousehold Decision Making Empower Women in Agricultural Households?

Els Lecoutere*, Eva Wuyts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


This mixed methods study investigates the impact of introducing participatory intrahousehold decision making in Ugandan agricultural households on multiple dimensions of women’s empowerment, including more subjective aspects of sense of agency and achievements by examining how impact aligns with women’s perceptions of the process, meaning and value of their empowerment. Participatory intrahousehold decision making is expected to empower women through increasing their voice and decision-making power and reducing collective action problems within households, which compromise efficiency and equitable sharing of costs and benefits of household farming. Couple seminars raising awareness about participatory intrahousehold decision making promoted women’s involvement in strategic farm and household decisions, highly aspired and valued by women to actively contribute to their households’ welfare. This may facilitate the pathway to empowerment where women have some leeway to participate in strategic household affairs. Couple seminars made improvement in household welfare more likely. This is an achievement in itself with great meaning to women as it answers to their priorities and sense of agency. Introducing participatory intrahousehold decision making by an additional intensive coaching of couples contributed to women’s priority of enhanced access to household coffee income, only feasible in the pathway with room for participation in household affairs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)882-905
JournalJournal of Development Studies
Issue number6
Early online date8 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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