Social Agency of Low-Income 'Young' Women in Gaborone City, Botswana

Molefe Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Empowerment should be a bottom-up process driven by a detailed
understanding of how the disempowered sections of society view and
respond to their own livelihood situations. The concept of social agency
has brought a new perspective to the empowerment of women and
other disempowered sections of society such as ‘the’ youth. This paper
presents findings of a study which investigated how low-income
‘young’ women in Botswana exercise their social agency to improve
their livelihood situations. The findings show that these ‘young’ women
are indeed exercising their double social agency (both as women and
as youth) to improve their livelihoods both in practical and strategic
terms. They do not only demonstrate high sense of entrepreneurship
but they are also becoming strategic in self-social positioning within
their complex socio-cultural contexts. Although they are exercising
their social agency in many different ways their main concern is to
enhance livelihood situation of their families.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-62
Number of pages26
JournalStudies of Changing Societies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • gender
  • livelihood trajectories
  • empowerment
  • social agency
  • young women

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