Gender Gaps in Leadership: The Case of Savings Groups in Uganda: How can gender gaps in leadership positions be measured and explained? Are there gender differences in the perceptions of which leaders are influential?– A Literature Review and Investigation of Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) in Uganda
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- Master Thesis 
Village saving and loans associations (VSLAs) play critical roles in many countries, including Uganda, towards financial inclusion overall. VSLAs are critical in working towards two key components to financial inclusion: financial literacy and access to financial services. More than half of the adult population in Uganda either saves or borrows through this community-based service platform, and they are by far Uganda’s leading source of credit. VSLAs are successful in creating income-generating activities and the benefits are evident. However, little is known about its leadership. In Uganda, women dominate in the number of members in the VSLAs but are yet underrepresented in its leadership positions. As this thesis is written to investigate gender gaps in the leadership of VSLAs in Uganda, it builds upon the findings made from the report by the multi-disciplinary research team assessing Women’s Leadership in VSLAs in Uganda. Two main contributions are made from this thesis, where the first entails a thorough investigation of how gender gaps in VSLA leadership can be measured and explained. The second entails an examination of whether there are gender differences in the perception of leaders considered influential. The latter is studied to find evidence for structural barriers such as VSLA gender composition restricting women from being influential leaders. With these main contributions in mind, this thesis structures the content into two parts: Part A and Part B. Part A provides a thorough introduction to the theory and literature and presents the theoretical frameworks that describe the theories behind the research problem. It dives into two theories explaining gender gaps in leadership through the theory of discrimination and variations in observable characteristics. The theories of discrimination explain the notion of taste-based- and statistical-discrimination. The other theory, attributing the gender gap to differences in psychological attributes, preferences and attitudes. The overall findings are pronounced and presented in Part B. The findings from the analyses made from this thesis happen to be very much consistent with the existing literature. Much of the gender gap in leadership is explained by observable characteristics, in particular by the fact that women have lower levels of education than men in the sample. The findings from the second investigation show that the fraction of listed influential females increases more than proportionate to the fraction of females in the VSLAs, where most men do not consider women in equal positions influential.