Research on the socioeconomic position of rural African women has been hampered by a lack of appropriate data. Indeed, macro-level data are not ideal to gain understanding of how the social and familial realities experienced by rural African women might limit their access to limited resources (Bryceson 1994; International Labour Office, 1984, 57; Whitehead 1994). Furthermore, a male head of household may not be able or willing to accurately evaluate women's economic contribution to the household. Therefore, it is necessary to interview or survey rural African women about their lives (Russell 1984). In this paper, we present Kaguru women's own opinions of how social and familial realities affect their access to resources.
In rural African societies, women are typically engaged in agricultural, household and income-earning work. Although African women often have a heavier workload than do men in these three spheres of their daily work, they typically do not experience equal access to resources, both educational and economic (Boserup 1970,1985; Goody 1976; Meena 1992; Staudt 1988). The fact that husbands and wives do not fully cooperate, and may even compete for economic resources, is problematic for many development programs.