Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2017

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


International Affairs

First Advisor

Dr. Robert Wyrod

Second Advisor

Dr. Douglas J. Snyder

Third Advisor

Dr. Lucy P. Chester


“Because women have always played significant roles in the traditional methods of food production, raising domesticated animals, and disease control in local livestock, it behooves policy makers, researchers, and planners to include women in all development processes” - Valentine Udoh James

Women are important influencers on the overall quality of life and well-being of their families and communities; their overall responsibilities allow them a unique platform to improve human well-being and promote the conservation of the natural environment. The development of Women's Grassroots Organizations in sub-Saharan Africa are not only providing a voice to rural women, but are major contributors to the creation of sustainable societies.

The qualitative data presented in this research pointed to key themes, which touched on: rural women’s access to land and land rights, the essential role women play in the agriculture sector of sub-Saharan Africa, and lastly the important role grassroots organizations play in promoting women’s voices and creating more sustainable societies.

This thesis strays away from the traditional economic framework of development studies and focuses on socio-cultural barriers that contribute to rural women’s lack of ability to participate in the agricultural sector. By identifying women's role in the this particular sector, this project identifies the traits of successful grassroots organizations.