Determinants of Female Labor Force Participation in the Agricultural Sector of Swaziland


This study investigates the determinants of Female Labor Force Participation (FLFP) in the Swaziland agricultural sector. This study uses data from the Swaziland Integrated Labor Force Survey 2007/08 collected by the Central Statistics Office, Swaziland. The methodology used to analyze the data included the use of the probit and multinomial logit models. The findings of the study indicate that about 7% of females participate in the agricultural sector. Participation of females is determined by age, marital status, level of education, land ownership, employment status and credit accessibility. Based on these findings, measures to enhance the participation of women in agriculture are proposed.

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Determinants of Female Labor Force Participation in the Agricultural Sector of Swaziland

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)


It is not only the size of labor force but also its composition, especially Female Labor Force Participation (FLFP), plays a central role in the economic development of a country. Although developing economies across the world have formulated policies, which have resulted in a significant increase in the proportion of women participation in economic activities (Jaumotte, 2003), FLFP rates have been declining in agriculture in most of the countries. It is pointed out that the problem of declining FLFP is serious in middle income agriculturebased economies (Tansel, 2002). According to the International Labour Organization (ILO) (2006), the gap in male-female participation rates for Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland in 1996 was 19%, 18%, 27% and 42%, respectively. It is worth noting that the gap in female and male labor force participation rates in Swaziland is wider in comparison to other developing countries indicated above. Furthermore, the ILO report mentioned that within the African region, the gap between male and female participation in the labor force is such that females are restricted to the agricultural sector only.

In Swaziland, women constitute a majority (53%) of the population (CSO, 2007a and 2007b). However, participation of females in agriculture has declined from 38% in 1980 to 12% in 2005 (World Bank, 2005; and CSO, 2006) even though the economy of Swaziland is largely agriculture-based. Their participation is important given that the agricultural sector contributes 13% to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (Central Bank of Swaziland, CBS, 2007). According to the CBS (2007), females in Swaziland have limited access to non-agricultural wage paying jobs and are often employed in low paying jobs. This means that females have low income and this shows their poor status almost half of the households in Swaziland are female-headed, in the rural areas.

While addressing the issue of FLFP in the Swazi agricultural sector, this paper analyzes the determinants of female participation in agriculture. This study differs from other studies because it concentrates on the socioeconomic and demographic factors as determinants of FLFP in agriculture rather than emphasizing on human capital factors and the role of wages. The understanding of the above will assist the policy makers in designing informed policies which are likely to improve the participation of females in agriculture.

Against this background, the main objective of the study is to understand and analyze the determinants of FLFP in the Swaziland's agricultural sector. The objectives are: (a) To determine the relationship between age, marital status, level of education, fe...

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