Essays on Women Empowerment and Norms in developing countries
: the case of Nepal and the Philippines

Student thesis: Doc typesDoctor of Economics and Business Management


This dissertation contains three chapters discussing issues surrounding women empowerment and norms, both important in understanding and achieving Gender Equality.The first chapter looks at a specific set of norms, Patriarchy, and how it has affected women empowerment trends in Nepal. The results show that norms have played an important role in hindering equal development as women’s decision-making and employment are better in villages with low patriarchy in comparison with those in high patriarchy. The second chapter investigates male outmigration and its effect on the left-behind family in Nepal. This chapter shows that girls and mothers are the ones carrying the burden of household chores and work in the agriculture sector when men migrate to work abroad. Mothers are also shown to make more final decisions alone. Even if the changes are not by choice, it can be considered as a first step towards empowering Nepali women as they get habituated to playing roles that goes far beyond what their society expects of them. The third chapter explores household efficiency and sharing norms among married couples in the Philippines using first-hand data and experimental evidence collected in the uplands. The results show that women have a strong desire for agency, that is, to have resources (e.g. money) that they have complete control over. This chapter shows that women having responsibility over household finances does not necessarily equate to having a say on its use. For women to achieve greater empowerment, they should be given the ability to make a choice.
Date of Award26 Sept 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Namur
SponsorsARES-CCD & FWB
SupervisorJean-Marie Baland (Supervisor), Lorenzo Trimarchi (President), Catherine Guirkinger (Jury), Francois LIBOIS (Jury) & Simone Bertoli (Jury)


  • female empowerment
  • norms
  • migration
  • patriarchy
  • gender inequality
  • applied econometrics

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