University of Limerick
2010_Namara, Naboth.pdf (3.62 MB)

Women's experiences of higher education and career choice in Ireland and Uganda : does national development and globalisation contribute?

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posted on 2023-02-03, 16:18 authored by Naboth Namara
Women in Uganda‟s universities are caught between two worlds. They lead lifestyles that are partly Western and partly local. This thesis sought to understand how national development and globalisation impacted upon those factors which influenced women‟s career-related educational choices, and experiences of higher education in Uganda, and in Ireland.The review of literature on development, and globalisation, showed that two phenomena seem more likely to lead to hybrid cultures, although it did not say what sort of hybrid culture develops, and the status of women in this culture. The review of literature on the factors which influence women‟s career-related educational choices indicated that no such data existed in Uganda. Finally, the review of literature on the role of education in women‟s lives showed that no significant data existed on the role education plays in elite women‟s lives in Uganda. This study therefore set out to address these gaps. To achieve this, the study triangulated both positivist-based quantitative methods such as a survey questionnaire, with interpretive-based qualitative methods, such as focus groups interviews. The study found that the factors which influenced women‟s career-related choices in universities were largely socio-cultural, economic, policy and individual-related in nature. However, while this was the case, some of these factors were distinctive to the respective samples. For example, beliefs and traditions such as the son preference and those against climbing trees only influenced the career-related educational choices of Mbarara University respondents while timetabling practices influenced those of the University of Limerick respondents. The study also found that both samples were largely drawn from socio-economic elites who led mainly Western life styles, although Mbarara University sample appeared more elitist than their University of Limerick counterparts, despite their struggle to pay tuition fees. Their elite socio-economic status enabled Mbarara University respondents to easily access Western media which then influenced their lifestyles, leading to a hybrid culture. However, despite the hybridity of their lifestyles, Ugandan women maintained significant cultural distinctiveness. Also higher education empowered these women to work outside the home and earn income, and also resist discriminatory traditional practices such as that of the son-preference in Uganda. As such highly educated parents in both universities gave better educational advice, more financial support, than the less or non-educated parents. They were also proper role models of their children. However empowered they were, these women were not liberated, implying that while higher education empowers women, it rarely liberates them given that it does not change the structural bases of inequality. This study has also noted that while it is largely a mechanism for reproducing socio-economic inequalities, higher education is also a mechanism for upward social mobility.In light of these issues therefore, development as epitomised by educational attainment sometimes leads to greater equality for women, while at times it does not. Other than these, this study has also shown that contrary to feminist understanding of the family as a seat of oppression given its patriarchal nature, the extended family network in Uganda, was a significant safety net for respondents, in light of the support this institution rendered to funding, accommodation, and pocket money needs of respondents. This study has developed an alternative model of career choice, which can be applied across different developmental contexts,and by applying this model to Ireland and Uganda. The findings of this study further show that for Uganda, data on women‟s life experiences, and on career-related choices and influences, that is entirely new has been provided. Also new data in Ireland and Uganda, on how women‟s experiences of higher education are shaped by national development and globalisation has been provided



  • Faculty of Education and Health Sciences


  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Tormey, Roland





Department or School

  • School of Education

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