The influence of women’s empowerment on poverty reduction: A case of smallholder sugarcane farmers in western Kenya

Kenedy Lumet, Raphael Gitau & George Owuor

This study uses primary data from smallholder sugarcane farmers in Kenya to investigate how women’s empowerment affects household poverty. Instrumental-variable tobit (IV tobit) was used to determine the causality between women’s empowerment and household poverty. The results reveal that poverty levels in households with empowered women are low compared to households without such women. Besides, education level, credit access, market access, land size, and crop and income diversification contributed positively to women’s empowerment and to the reduction in household poverty. The domains that contribute significantly to women’s disempowerment in sugarcane farming are income, work balance and leadership. These results suggest that strengthening women’s control over income and their leadership position in society are vital domains that should be targeted by
rural development interventions to improve the livelihoods of smallholder women sugarcane farmers. In addition, there is a need to intensify crop diversification and increase women’s access to markets.