Volume 8, Issue 4, August 2019, Page: 175-184
The Impact of Cultural Practices on Women Empowerment: The Case of Offa Woreda, Wolaita Zone, Southern Ethiopia
Mesele Woldemichael Delango, Department of Civics and Ethical Studies, College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Wolaita Soddo University, Wolaita Soddo, Ethiopia
Received: Jun. 20, 2019;       Accepted: Jul. 17, 2019;       Published: Aug. 6, 2019
DOI: 10.11648/      View  350      Downloads  69
The objective of this research is to investigate the impacts of cultural practices on women empowerment in Offa Woreda, Wolaita zone, of southern Ethiopia. This study design is purely qualitative and descriptive in its approach. Both primary and secondary source of data for this study was obtained from Offa Woreda women who are engaged in different economic activities. Hence, the geographical scope of the study contained Busha and wachiga-Eesho kebeles of Offa Woreda. Since the study aimed at getting in-depth understanding of community practices that affect women’s empowerment, purposive sampling technique was employed to select study participants. Totally fifty individuals were participated to provide the data for this research. In-depth interview and focus group discussion was also used to collect the data. The researcher documented and analyzed actual case studies, which enabled the researcher to identify the impacts of socio-cultural practices on women’s empowerment, the society’s perception towards women role and factors affect women decision making in household and community level. The data was analyzed in thematically organized way by pursuing to the original descriptions of the field notes so as to infer meanings and generalizations. This finding reveals that our countries context is formally banned by the Ethiopian constitution which was promulgated in Ethiopian constitution (1995) Art 35, sub Art 4 the state shall enforce the right of women to eliminate the influence of harmful customs. Though, the community has been practicing female genital mutilation and early marriage because of low awareness and cultural reason like the belief that a non-mutilated girl breaks the utensils, possesses bad behavior and for the purpose of purity. Generally, there are several cultural practices in this study area and they have their own impact on women’s performance. Currently, these practices are prevailing among the community and the community gave their own positive and negative implications towards this practices. Particularly female genital mutilation and early marriage are the most common practice in my study area. Therefore, it needs governments’ considerable attention and other non-governmental organizations and policy-makers to reflect on the most suitable ways of supporting women empowerment.
"Women Empowerment, Early Marriage, Cultural Practices, Female Genital Mutilation, Women Decision Making Process "
To cite this article
Mesele Woldemichael Delango, The Impact of Cultural Practices on Women Empowerment: The Case of Offa Woreda, Wolaita Zone, Southern Ethiopia, Social Sciences. Vol. 8, No. 4, 2019, pp. 175-184. doi: 10.11648/
Copyright © 2019 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abraha, F. (2017). The Role of Affirmative Action on Empowering Women’s, in the Case L / HaHale, J Civil Legal Sci 6: 226.
Admasu, M. & Mekonnen, S. (2012). Historical perspectives on the legal status of Women in Ethiopia. Gender and law. Abssinia Law. Addis Ababa.
Assefa, G. Berhaneselassie. & Melaku. (2005). Harmful Traditional Practices for the Ethiopian Health Center, Ministry Of Health and the Ethiopia Ministry of Education.
Ayalew, G. A (2012). Customary laws in Ethiopia: A need for better recognition Rsearch Partnership program me Danish Institute for human Rights (DIHR).
Bartlett, A. (2004). Entry points for empowerment. Care Bangladesh.
Bhatia, A & Mehandirtta, k. (2014). Empowering Socio- Cultural Environment of Women- An Empirical Study of Female Professionals of District Faridabad, Innovation in Engineering & Management Vol (3), Issue 2.
Bangladesh National Women Development Policy (2011). Ministry of Women and Children Affairs Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
Batliwala, S. (2007). Putting power back in to empowerment Democracy & power; Pathways of Women's Empowerment: 2007 – 2010.
Beijing Platform for Action (1995). Fourth United Nations World Conference on Women.
Belangel, C. & Ghorashi, P. (1996). Women Work and gender relation in developing countries: A Global perspective, Green Wood publishing group Inc, USA.
Beyene, H. (2015), Final report national assessment: Ethiopia gender equality and knowledge society: Funded by sida, Equality and the knowledge society.
Bryman, A. (2004). Social Research Methods New York, Oxford University Press.
Burra, N. Randive, J. D & Murty. K. (2005). Micro Credit, poverty and empowerment: newIndia.
Brown, H. A. (2012). Marx on gender and the family p. cm (historical materialism book series, ISSN1570-1522; v39).
Boyden, J. (2012). Harmful Traditional Practices and Child Protection: Contested Understandings and Customs of Female Early Marriage and Genital Cutting in Ethiopia.
Cresswell, J. W. (2009). Research Design: A qualitative, quantitative, and mixed approaches London: SAGE publications.
Christabell, P. J. (2009). Women Empowerment through capacity building and the role of Finance New Delhi India.
Diah, N. M., Hossain, D, M., Mustari, S & R, N. S. (2014). An Overview of the Anthropological Theories: International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, Vol. 4, 10 (1). pp. 48-49.
Ellen, J. (2006). Feminist Anthropology, UK: Blackwell publishing Ltd.
Eriksson, E. (2016). Women's empowerment and its links to sustainable development: in- depth analysis European Parliament, European Union.
Ethiopian Constitution (1995). The constitution of the Federal democratic republic of Ethiopia: done at Addis Ababa.
Gachocho, M. (1995). Urban poverty in Africa selected countries: Paper presented at International Conference at Nairobi, Kenya.
Hook, B. (2000). The feminist Theory from margin to Center: Second edition, United Kingdom.
Hook, B. (2003). Feminism is for everybody Passionate Politics: South End Press Cambridge, MA.
IDLO (2013). Accessing justice: models, strategies and best practices on women’s empowerment Published by: International Development Law Organization (IDLO) Vaile Vatican, 106, (Rome) Italy.
Jaggar, A. M. (1983). Using Focus Groups in Program Development and Evaluation; London: University of Kentucky.
Jejeebhoy, S. & Sathar, Z. (2001). Women’s Autonomy in India and Pakistan: The Influence of Religion and Region Population and Development Review, 27, 687712.
Jobo, M. M. (2015). The prejudiced negative images of femininity in wolaita proverbs: Wolaita Soddo University, Ethiopia.
Kabeer, N. (2000). Gender mainstreaming in poverty eradication & the Millennium development; London, United kingdom.
Kabeer, N. (2005). Women’s empowerment: a critical analysis of the third millennium Development Goal The common wealth secretariat, London.
Kabeer, N. (2003). Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and the Millennium Development Goals: Promoting Women’s Capabilities and Participation.
Katz, S. H. (2004). Women and Gender in Early Jewish and Palestinian Nationalism Middle East Journal: Vol. 58, No. 1 (winter, 2004), pp. 163-164.
Kaur, R. (2016). Feminism: Introduction and Aims; Imperial Journal of Interdisciplinary Research Vol-2, Issue-6, 2016.
Kumar, D. (2014). “Socio–Cultural Influence on Women Entrepreneurs: A Study of Uttarakhand State” Int. J. of Trade and Commerce IIARTC, Vol. 3 (1): 127-139.
Kothari, C. R. (2004). Research Methodology: Methods and Techniques (2nd Ed.). New Delhi: International Publishers, Ltd.
Lyimo, B. (2011). Polygamy in sub-Saharan Africa and the munusdocendi: canonical structures Support of church doctrine and evangelization Faculty of Canon: Law Saint Paul University Prosper B. LYIMO, Ottawa, Canada.
Malhotra, A. S. Schuler & Boender. C. (2002). ‘Measuring Women's Empowerment as a Variable in International Development’; International Center for Research on Women the Gender and Development, Group of the World Bank.
Malcolm, H. (1996). Empowerment through Enterprise a training manual for Non-Government organization, Intermediate Technology London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Moghadam, M. (2007). From Patriarch to Empowerment: Women Participation, Movement and Right in Middle East, North Africa and south Asia.
Mayoux, L. (2000). ‘Microfinance and the empowerment of women: A review of the key issues’. Social Finance Unit Working Paper, 23 Geneva: ILO.
Mulgaonker, V. (1996). ‘Reproductive Health of Women in Urban Slums of Bombay’ Social Change, 26 (3-4).
Mohajan, H. (2013). Ethiopia: A socio-economic study, Journal of Business Management And Administration, Chittagong, Bangladesh.
Mill’s, J. S. (2006). Mill’s liberal feminism: its legacy and current criticism: MARIANA SZAPUOVÁ Comenius University in Bratislava.
Narayan, D. (2002). Empowerment and Poverty Reduction. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Washington D. C.
Nussbaum, M. C. (2000). Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach. The United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York.
Nikabinde, Z. P. (1997). Analysis of Education challenge: In the new South Africa. University Press of America Inc.
Nigel, R. & Joanna, O. (2000). Social and Cultural Anthropology: The Key Concepts London and newyork: Routledge.
Oxaal & Baden, (1997). BRIDGE: Gender and empowerment: definitions, approaches and Implications for policy development BRIDGE (development - gender), Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex.
Pangrahay, L. (2006). Women empowerments: New Delhi, India.
Raju, D. (2007). Women empowerment Challenge and Strategy: University of Michigan, new Delhi.
Ras-Work, B. (2006). The impact of harmful traditional practices on the girl child: United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) in collaboration with UNICEF Expert Group Meeting Elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child UNICEF Innocent Research Centre Florence, Italy.
Rosaldo, M. Z. (2006). The Use and Abuse of Anthropology: Reflections on Feminism and Cross- cultural understanding; In: Lewis.
Russel, H. B. (2006). Research Method in Anthropology: Qualitative and quantitative Approaches, Lanham, New York et al: ALTAMIRA Press.
Raymond, S & Decorse, C. R (2005). Anthropology: A Global Perspective. 5thEd. Prentice- Hall.
Sen, R. & Batliwala, H. (2000). Empowering women for reproductive rights Women's empowerment and demographic processes: moving beyond Cairo, edited by Harriet B.
Presser and Gita Sen Oxford, England, Oxford University Press.
Shalini, P. (2006). Human Resource and Managerial Development: New Delhi, India.
Shakib, M. K. (2010). Marxist feminism and post modernism: Journal of Language And Culture Vol. 1 (3): 28-34.
Singh, L and Gupta, B. (2013). A Conceptual Study on Women Empowerment-Facts and Realities: IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science Vol 11 (4): 40-42.
Smith, P. (1993). Feminist Jurisprudence and the Nature of Law, in: P. Smith 9 Ed) Feminist Jurisprudence (1993), at 8.
Sushuma, N. (1998). Women empowerment Approach and Strategy: Discovery house publication, New Delhi, India.
Tafesse, Y, (2011). Women and Land Rights in Rural Ethiopia: The Case of Wolaita: thesis Submitted for the Degree: Master of Philosophy in Indigenous Studies Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education University of Tromsø Norway.
Tesfaye, T. (2008). Digest of Ethiopia National Policies, Strategy and programs: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. United Nations Publications.
Toshe, A. D. (2010). Effectiveness of Interventions to Eliminate the Practice of Female Genital Mutilation: A Case Study in Soddo Zuriya District, Wolaita Zone, SNNPRS, Ethiopia.
UNICEF Ethiopia (2015). Harmful Traditional practices: Child Protection Section and Media & External Relations. Addis Ababa.
UNPF (2014). Program me of Action of the International Conference on Population Development Adopted at the 21st special session of the General Assembly New York.
United Nations (2010). Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Vienna, Austria.
Wagereka, N. (2010). Every Mile Counts: Building a Legacy of Women’s Rights Protection in Kenya.
Wilder, J. (2007). Women’s empowerment in Ethiopia:’ new solutions to ancient Pathfinder International, Ethiopia.
Wolaita Zone Information & Culture Department (2006). The History of wolaita People From Ancient to 1979, Addis Ababa.
Wrigh, E. O. (1989). Interrogating inequality; Essay on class analysis, socialism, London, Newyork.
Zoe, O. & Bader, S. (1997). Gender and Empowerment: Definitions, Approaches and Implications for Policy; Bridgton: Institute of Development Studies.
Browse journals by subject