Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Paul Clements

Second Advisor

Dr. Kenneth A. Dahlberg

Third Advisor

Dr. Sushani Datta-Sandhu

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Since it gained independence, Malawi has struggled to produce enough food to feed its quickly growing population. As the Ministry of Agriculture has tried to implement new policies regarding agricultural development, it has restructured key organizations within the government.

Initially, women were largely ignored in governmental and international aid agencies' development plans. However, after several unsuccessful projects, most implemented by the World Bank, a new project created by USAID revealed statistics that attributed part of the failures to gender-related biases in planning. Once these biases were identified, the government of Malawi requested assistance in reaching women farmers for purposes of development.

What was left out of the planning was any serious discussion of the rights of women not seen as directly linked to agricultural improvement. The goal of my research is to evaluate the changes that have already been made and recommend policy alternatives that seek long term solutions to food scarcity and that will support sustainable improvements in the quality of life of rural women.