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Young Women’s Economic Daily Lives in Rural Ethiopia

Discussion Papers


March 2012


In rural Ethiopia, livelihood diversification is essential for households to be able to sustain themselves. Declining agricultural profits and a land shortage have accelerated this diversification. While the past literature has ignored young women’s economic contributions in its discussions about livelihood diversification, this research indicates that the current rapid educational expansion for girls has changed their economic role in their households. This has resulted in changes in the conventional life courses of women in rural Ethiopia as they have more choices in terms of education, marriage, and the types and location of their economic activities, due to the increasing importance of young women’s economic contributions to their households and their improved educational opportunities. The aim of this paper is to elucidate how the economic environment and government educational policy have affected young women’s lives in terms of education, marriage, economic activities, and intra-household power relationships, especially with their parents.

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