Exploration of Contributions of Women in Rural Development and Determinant Factors Influencing Their Participation, The Case of Agricultural Cooperatives in Ethiopia
Journal of Culture, Society and Development
Women constitute about 50% of the world population and contribute about 75% to subsistence production. On the other hand, they earn one tenth of the world's income and they own one hundredth of the world's property including land. In Ethiopia, as in most parts of the world, women's role in the socio-economic activities is high, but they have less access basic resources than men do. Therefore, the enhancement of women's participation in all spheres of life has become a key issue in development
... ue in development discourses, which ratifies socio-economic development, cannot be fully achieved without the active participation of women. The primary economic activity of Ethiopia is agriculture which greatly depends on family labor where women play crucial role. Majorities of the rural populations are engaged in agricultural cooperatives, which is the business owned and controlled by the people to meet peoples' common requirements. Hence, this article explored women participation status and associated factors influencing their participation in agricultural cooperatives. Although the feminist theory proved that women and men have equal potential for individual development, the fruits that go to women are by far very low. The review identified that culture/customs, heavy work load and lack of time, lack of capital/credit, gender differentials, lack of education and training, lack of access to key economic resources, laws and rules, lack of access to property ownership, income generation and purchasing power as determinant factors influencing women participation in agricultural cooperatives. Therefore, to improve the situation, proposed interventions have to be made include: creating awareness through education and training to bring attitudinal change in the society, encouraging women participation, making different types of credit accessible, following the implementation of laws and rules as designed. For that matter, government organs at all levels and other stakeholders ought to work to attract more women to the cooperative members and also to bring them to the decision making positions.