Safe child care and women's empowerment in the developing world

C J Leuning, B Ngavirue
Health Care for Women International 1995, 16 (6): 537-50
Women's ability to provide for the health and well-being of their children and families is linked in complex ways to the degree of empowerment they experience. Empowerment for women in the developing world is a perplexing venture, hampered by patriarchal barriers and cultural confusion. Our purpose in conducting this research was to discover how disadvantaged Namibian women experienced empowerment when they had access to safe child care. Fifty-two women participated in the study. A qualitative design and ethnographic techniques were used to elicit women's experiences. Five themes, descriptive of women's empowerment, emerged from the data: (a) increasing vitality, (b) freedom from worry, (c) opportunities to increase financial security, (d) strengthened parenting competence, and (e) personal satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment. The findings add a voice from the developing world to the growing understanding of women's diverse journeys toward empowerment. Discussion focuses on the significance of the themes and implications for further research that promotes women's empowerment and community health.

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