Community empowerment plays a key role in the working of society. Providing support and training opportunities to communities and promoting socioeconomic growth can be of fundamental importance to the progress of any region but is particularly important in rural areas. Women in rural communities frequently have been confined to playing roles in the home, despite recent literature suggesting that empowering them can boost the development of their communities. Drawing on inductive qualitative research, this case study describes the perceptions of five rural women from Sarapiquí in the Northern Region of Costa Rica after undergoing training in tourism entrepreneurship in the period 2015-2018. It also explores how their experiences and empowerment processes have contributed to their community. Centered on feminist theory, the study presents the women’s perspectives by employing content and thematic analysis, using WebQDA software to digitally categorize semantic relationships. Data were collected and triangulated through semi-structured interviews, field observations, and document gathering. Results show the participants’ active involvement in the community, exploring the implications of their gender roles and of family influence (mostly that of immediate family), along with the women’s individual perceptions of empowerment and their reflections on what it feels like to be empowered women. They experienced empowerment to be a driving force that favors their personal lives and that further influences community development, yet they note that the path to becoming empowered is challenging and time consuming. They also stated that their training and professional development processes were keys to consolidating their sense of empowerment in the community. This study seeks to better apprehend the experiences of women and the role they play in rural communities.
community, Costa Rica, empowerment, entrepreneurship, rural tourism, women
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Recommended APA Citation
López-Estrada, P., Fernández-Mora, L., & Pérez-Hidalgo, E. (2023). Empowered Women in a Rural Community: A Case Study in Sarapiquí, Costa Rica. The Qualitative Report, 28(10), 2848-2870. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2023.6677