The ambitions of secondary school girls in Jinja District, Uganda in the context of ‘gender balancing’

Jonathan Kelly
Department of Geography, University of Gloucestershire
September 2011


This study investigates the ambitions held by Ugandan female secondary school students and the influences upon the formation and realisation of these ambitions. A particular focus is placed upon the influence of the education system. Also the study investigates factors which constitute either opportunities or constraints for girls in their attempts to achieve these aims. This analysis seeks to generate informed recommendations as to how policy makers and educational practitioners can help facilitate girls’ successful pursuit of their ambitions and thus to a considerable extent empower them to shape their own futures. The term 'Gender balancing' is a term widely used by the participants to refer broadly to efforts and policies which work towards women's empowerment.

To investigate these issues in-depth interviews were undertaken with a range of participants. This included mainly female secondary school-age students from a selected mix of schools from within (or within close proximity to) the Jinja urban area in Jinja district, Uganda. In addition to this, three teachers and a careers advisor were also interviewed. Two ‘key informants’ were also interviewed providing an important institutional context to the theme of women’s rights advocacy in the area. The analysis of this data leads to a discussion concerning the important issues of socio-cultural restrictions to women’s freedoms, the gender-sensitivity of the educational environment and male attitudes towards women’s empowerment. This study suggests areas deserving of further study and highlights important issues requiring the consideration of policy makers and practitioners, particularly those concerned with the education of girls in Uganda.


gender balancing, Jinja, qualitative interviewing, development, empowerment, education

The Ambitions of Secondary School Girls in Jinja District, Uganda in the context of ‘Gender Balancing’ by Jonathan Kelly is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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