The role of business, technical and vocational training in enhancing women's economic empowerment in Uganda: a case of Wakiso District
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The study’s general objective was to explore the role of vocational training on women’s economic empowerment using the following objectives. To find out the nature of vocational training provided to female beneficiaries, to establish how beneficiaries have utilised the business, technical and vocational training skills for their economic empowerment and the challenges faced by women in accessing and utilising business, technical and vocational skills for economic empowerment. The study used cross-sectional study design using vocational training for women in Wakiso district as a case study. The study population was 161 were a sample size of 100 was selected. The study population involved men, women beneficiaries and employees in vocational institutions, opinion leaders including local council leaders and religious leaders. Data was collected using the interview guide, a questionnaire and analysed using SPSS. Findings about the nature of Vocational Training provided to female beneficiaries revealed nature of vocational training provided to female beneficiaries was positive among the women, the respondents noted that vocational education was hands-on learning and relevant, female-friendly training courses were included in vocational training such as tailor, beautician, salesclerk, hospitality, cook apprenticeship. The study findings show that most women mainly prefer hotel and institutional catering, fashion and design and cosmetology, which are female-friendly training courses. The study Sarah Longwe’s theory of women empowerment which defined women's empowerment as enabling women to take an equal place with men, and to participate equally in the development process in order to achieve control over the factors of production on an equal basis with men. Findings revealed several ways to benefit, including starting up business ventures, equipping other women with vocational skills, utilising the available resources in the community, and employing people using the acquired vocational skills ' vocational training offered eases women access credit facilities. The respondents mentioned several challenges, which limited participation in vocational training caused by biological roles of women as mothers and housekeepers, the increasing tendency among female trainees to enrol in a very limited set of technical fields are influenced by traditional stereotypes of what jobs are appropriate for women. Further still, the fewer employment prospects and practical assignments in the field discourage female students from enrolling in science, mechanical and technological vocational training courses, women’s level of participation in vocational training is compounded by the lack of information about technical and vocational educational tracks, women find it difficulty in raising school fees/tuition. There is also an issue of women striking a balance between vocational studies and family responsibilities and Limited capital to venture into business in line with the acquired skills. Based on the findings the study concluded that gender roles significantly interfered with women choice of vocational institutional courses and how they can utilise the skills. Therefore, the study recommended that vocational Institutions should develop a plan of communication to spread the training opportunities offered and reduce gender disparities in access to vocational education is essential that the government multiply the creation of vocational education in each sub-county.