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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Missionaries and female empowerment in colonial Uganda: new evidence from Protestant marriage registers, 1880-1945
Author:Meier zu Selhausen, Felix
Year:2014
Periodical:Economic history of developing regions (ISSN 2078-0397)
Volume:29
Issue:1
Pages:74-112
Language:English
Geographic term:Uganda
Subjects:women's education
women's employment
missions
marriage
Protestant churches
Link:https://doi.org/10.1080/20780389.2014.927110
Abstract:Protestant missionaries have recently been praised for their relatively benign attitudes concerning women's education in Africa. Using a novel dataset of 5,202 Protestant brides born between 1880 and 1945 from urban and rural Uganda, this paper offers a analysis of the role of mission education on African women's socio-economic position within the household. The paper finds that although mission education raised the women's literacy skills way above national levels, women were largely excluded from participating in the colonial wage labour market. In this context, the missionary society presented an almost exclusive source of female wage labour in the areas of religious service, schooling and medical care. While literacy per se did not affect women's marriage behaviour, women who worked for the missionaries married significantly later in life and married men closer to their own age, signalling a shift in the power balance between parents and daughters and between husband and wife. On average, daughters of fathers deeply entrenched in the missionary movement had the highest chances to access wage employment. Paternal mission networks were important for Protestant women's work outside the household during colonial times. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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