The Survival Mechanisms o£ Female Household Heads in a Small Town of Et.hiopia: The Cese o£ Holote Genet.

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Addis Ababa University


Female household heads are common all round the world. Their number is also increasing. Above all they are a severely disadvantaged group of society both socially and economically. The urban female household heads, in particular, are the most vulnerable group of the society to most of the urban problems. This study, therefore, aims at assessing the socio-economic and survival mechanisms of urban female household heads. The town of Holota Genet is the study area. The data used in the study was gathered through a questionnaire survey by considering 122 female household heads. About 64 percent of the respondents were widows and 26 percent were divorcees. The rest (10%) became household heads because of other reasons. All of the respondents were engaged in the informal sector at the time of the survey. As a common feature of this sector, the income of the respondents was relatively very low. Most of the respondents reported that they have decreased their level of participation in traditional savings such as Idir and Iqub because of their financial constraints. The divorcees were more likely to engage in prostitution than the widowed. The widows, on the other hand, were more likely to own their dwelling units than the divorcees. The female household heads use various survival mechanisms. Some of them send their children to work in order to generate income. Some others have given their children to adoptive parents and relatives. Remarriage, geographic mobility, sale of assets, diversification of items of sale, borrowing of money and cohabitation with male partners are also commonly observed among the female household heads. Among the identified survival mechanisms, borrowing money was reported by almost all of the respondents. Change of residence, change of occupation and giving away children to adoptive parent followed it in importance.



Survival Mechanisms of Female Household