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TOWARDS GENDER EQUALITY AND ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT: AN ANALYSIS OF DEMOGRAPHIC COMPONENTS OF RURAL WOMEN IN IMO STATE, SOUTHEAST NIGERIA
Abstract: This study was to analyze some demographic variables influencing the participation of rural women in the informal sector of Imo State, Nigeria. Descriptive analysis was applied on the data collected from a survey conducted in nine Local Government Areas of Imo State. Two thousand, three hundred and forty women were selected using multistage sampling. The selection of nine LG As constituted the first stage and the selection of eighteen communities constituted the second stage. After selecting these villages/communities, we chose some households from these selected villages. In the fourth stage, we selected the wife of head of household or the head of household (if female). Results obtained showed that rural informal economic activities by women are affected by the following demographic variables; age, household size, number of children, marital status, place of residence and place of work in their attempt to improve the living standard of the rural women. The results also revealed that demographic variables within rural areas are dynamic in terms of space. Since the women’s activities rely heavily on family labor, the implication is the absence of a social welfare scheme, the presence of child labor, and little or no observance of the minimum wage requirement. Government policies should be formulated in this regard.
Keywords: Demographic variables, rural women, informal economic activities, Imo State, Nigeria.