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Women’s Participation in Agricultural Cooperatives in Ethiopia
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Women’s Participation in Agricultural Cooperatives in Ethiopia


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International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI) Seminar Series. April 12, 2013. Addis Ababa University

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI) Seminar Series. April 12, 2013. Addis Ababa University

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  • 1. Women’s Participation inAgricultural Cooperatives inEthiopiaBy: Thomas Woldu Assefa (Msc.)Research Officer @ IFPRI/EDRI-ESSP-IIFanaye Tadesse Techane (Msc.)Research Officer @ IFPRI/EDRI-ESSP-IIMarie-Katherine Waller (PhD)Independent Gender and Research Consultant
  • 2. Introduction• Ethiopia’s economy is characterized by smallholder subsistencefarming• These small-holder farmers lack modern inputs and marketaccess.• Agricultural cooperatives are believed to play a crucial role incurbing these problems by– making credit and modern inputs available– creating market opportunities and sell members’ output.• Global and national evidence clearly shows rural women playcritical roles in bringing about food and economic security
  • 3. Introduction cont.• Greater attention on; agricultural policies and programs– Gender sensitive, and– Address barriers to women’s equal participation and benefit• This recognition, however, has not yet translated into policiesand programs in the cooperative sub-sector.• Women still face major obstacles in joining and being activemembers of typically male-dominated cooperatives.• Women’s equal participation: both women’s right andimportant for sustainable and people-centered development.
  • 4. Introduction – cont’d• It improves their• self-confidence, knowledge, leadership skills and incomes,access to agricultural inputs and expand their social networksand position in value-chains.• Womens economical and social empowerment, affects– their household and community decision-making power– their access and control over productive assets– these changes lead to; improved household nutrition, foodand income security, broader development outcomes; and,a more integrated production of both food and cash crops
  • 5. Introduction cont.• In most developing countries– The participation of women in cooperatives is very minimal (Idrisaet al 2007).• In Ethiopia,– Women’s participation in agricultural cooperatives was only 8percent in 2004 (USAID 2005) and– 16 percent in the total urban and rural cooperatives in 2007(Bernard et al. 2010).– We found it being 20 percent in our data, which is generally verylow• Those few member women also face problems and constraints,which adversely affect the benefits of membership.
  • 6. Introduction cont.• In most countries, there are formal and informal prejudicesabout what women can and cannot do.• Factors preventing women from full participation incooperatives– formal and informal prejudices about what women can andcannot do.– Laws, and even co-operative rules and by-laws, sometimeshinder womens membership in cooperative societies (ICA1983).– Religious rules and traditions– Rural women in developing countries often work long hours– Women in developing countries often lack the basic education• It is not well understood which factors contribute to womenparticipating in cooperatives.
  • 7. Objective• This paper aims at filling a critical knowledge gap byidentifying through different methods the characteristics ofcooperatives, households, and individual women that areassociated with women’s participation in cooperatives inEthiopia.• It quantifies which factors contribute to the low participationof women in cooperatives and which type of cooperatives aremore successful in attracting women as members.
  • 8. Data and methodology• Data were jointly collected by Ethiopian Economics Association(EEA) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in2009.• The surveys were conducted in eight selected Woredas in 7regions: Afar, Amhara, Beneshangul-Gumuz, Gambella,Oromia, SNNP, Tigray– Household survey:– in 4 randomly drawn kebeles of each of the 8 weredas– 35 randomly drawn households in each selected kebele– total of approx. 1120 households– Kebele-level surveys:– in all kebeles of each selected weredas– total of approx. 156 kebeles
  • 9. Household Members- Both HH head and spouseseparatelyLocal Political Representatives- Kebele chair- Kebele council member (1 male, 1female)- Kebele council speaker- Wereda council memberService Providers- Development agents (1 livestock,1 crop)- Agricultural cooperatives- Water committee headHousehold survey Kebele level surveyKebele level surveySurvey Design
  • 10. Distribution of Cooperatives in the SampleRegion WoredaNumber ofAgriculturalCooperativesNumber ofKebeles inWoredaCooperative-Kebele RatioAfar Telalak 2 12 0.17Amhara Bati 14 23 0.61Amhara Sekota 19 33 0.53Benishangul-Gumuz Yaso 5 14 0.36Gambella Gambella 3 11 0.27Oromia Ibantu 10 20 0.50SNNP Sheko 6 25 0.24Tigray Ofla 14 18 0.78Total 73 156
  • 11. Cooperative Characteristics• The average number of members– At time of establishment – 245– At the time of the survey – 600• Women tend to collectively organize around crops andlivestock under their direct control• Maize and Wheat are traditionally under men’s control inEthiopiaActivities Percentage of CooperativesHave members outside of the Kebele 32%Sell shares to members 67%Obtain inputs for members 55%Sell products of members 23% (Mainly Maize and Wheat)Provide credit services 77%-Lending directly 49%-Playing Intermediary role 24%-Both lending directly and playing intermediary role 4%
  • 12. Women’s Participation in Cooperatives• Women constitute about 20 percent of members on average• Five percent of the cooperatives do not have womenmembers at all• The percentage of women is not increasing over time (only 3percent increase on average)Percentage of Women Members in Cooperatives00. gog ibantu ofla sekota sheko telalak yasoAt the time of establishment At the time of the survey
  • 13. Women’s Participation in Cooperatives – Cont’dCooperatives that have women in leadership position 18%Participation of members in cooperative meetings (considering the last meetingbefore the survey)- Men who attended the meeting (as a percentage of total men members) 47%- Women who attended the meeting (as a percentage of total women members) 45%Leaders think it is better for the community if cooperatives have more womenmembers 96%Leaders discussed about increasing womens participation during meetings theyheld in the past one year 16%Leaders received some sort of training 55%- Leaders’ trainings had component that addressed womens issues 28%• This result suggests that once women are members ofcooperative, they are likely equally interested in participatingin meetings.• The question is whether they are able to equally voice andhave their interests heard as male members.
  • 14. Econometric Analysis• At cooperative level– Tobit model; in modeling determinants of women’sproportion in cooperatives• At individual/household level– Logit model; to study the determinants of membership
  • 15. Cooperative level AnalysisModelling Determinants of Women’s Proportion in Cooperatives• A tobit model, truncated from below at zero, was estimated• Explanatory variables include indicators for• the way the cooperatives are organized and function,• the characteristics of the cooperatives at the time oftheir establishment,• the characteristics of the leaders,• link of the cooperative with the government, and• the type of services the cooperatives provide
  • 16. With outupper limitWith Upperlimit (0.50)Explanatory variables dy/dxStd.Err. dy/dxStd.Err.Cooperatives are formally registered (Yes=1) 0.011 -0.046 0.009 -0.039Number of visits to government officials 0 -0.001 0 -0.001Entrance fee of members (in Birr) -0.008 -0.005 -0.007 -0.005Members can buy shares (Yes=1) 0.696** -0.282 0.419*** -0.107All members are in one kebele (Yes=1) 0.085** -0.034 0.072** -0.036Proportion of leaders who can read and write 0.131*** -0.024 0.106*** -0.028Leaders have taken some sort of training (Yes=1) 0.075*** -0.015 0.065*** -0.017No. of years a cooperative head serves in a position -0.002 -0.017 -0.004 -0.016No. of total members at the time the cooperative is established 0.000*** 0 0.000*** 0Established after 2000 G.C (Yes=1) -0.044 -0.06 -0.036 -0.054Provide input to members (Yes=1) 0.085*** -0.032 0.066** -0.032Sell output for members (Yes=1) -0.032 -0.058 -0.029 -0.052Provide credit service to members (Yes=1) -0.118 -0.097 -0.085 -0.079Number of observations=57Modeling Womens Proportion in Cooperatives (Tobit regression)Notes: clustered standard errors in parenthesis. Coefficients are significant at *10 percent,** 5 percent and *** 1 percent. District fixed effects were used in the regression.
  • 17. Determinants of Women’s Proportion in Cooperatives – cont’d• Cooperatives’ links with government officials do not have asignificant effect on women’s proportion.– This might be due to less emphasis given to women’sparticipation when the cooperatives visit governmentofficials– Other studies; women generally have not been accessedby agricultural extension workers nor equally benefitedfrom quality services that meet their needs and interests• Cooperatives do not face any problem to get formallyregistered even if they fail to have considerable numbers ofwomen members.– Perhaps the new certification program will help change this gendergap.
  • 18. Determinants of Women’s Proportion in Cooperatives – cont’d• The ways the cooperatives are organized and functionsignificantly affect women’s proportion in cooperatives.– Women’s proportion is more likely to be higher incooperatives• with members only in one Kebele• which distribute input to members• that have a higher proportion of literate leaders• that received leader’s training
  • 19. Individual Level AnalysisModelling Determinants of Cooperative Membership– Included explanatory variables• Demographic variables,• household variables and• variables which serve as a proxy for social interaction ofindividuals– A logit model is estimated
  • 20. Explanatory Variables Model one Model twody/dx Std. Err. dy/dx Std. Err.Gender (Male=1) -.088 ** (.039) -.007 (.019)Age of the individual (in years) .002 ** (.001) .001 (.001)Literacy (literate=1) .066 (.046) .054 (.042)Household size .008 ** (.003) .010 *** (.004)Place of birth (in the Kebele=1) .009 (.041) .022 (.035)No. of visits by an expert in the past 1 year .007 (.005) .006 (.005)Position (held official, village or traditional position=1) .071 ** (.032) .051 * (.027)Relatives ever held positions (Yes=1) .091 *** (.021) .079 *** (.023)Land holding of the household (in hectars) .002 (.003) .002 (.003)Household head (Yes=1) --- .122 *** (.043)Number of observations 1877 1877Pseudo R2 0.15 0.17Modeling Determinants of Membership (Logit models)Notes: Marginal effects are reported. Clustered standard errors in parenthesis. Estimates aresignificant at *10 percent, ** 5 percent and *** 1 percent. Model one does not includehousehold head variable but model two includes the variable.
  • 21. Modelling Determinants of Cooperative Membership- Cont’d• Their power of decision making in the household mattersa lot– From the wider literature; female household heads tend tobe more educated, have more freedom to move aroundand thus have greater access to information and abilityand opportunities to join formal groups.• Individuals who are more likely to be members• are older• are living in a bigger family• have held village, official or traditional positions and• have relatives who have held such positions
  • 22. Characteristics of Women Members as Compared toNon-members – Cont’d• We couldn’t do regression due to few women members (6%)• Hence, simple mean difference tests are conducted betweenmembers and non-members• The results show that– Women who are members of cooperatives• come from households with educated head and higheraverage level of education within the household.• have higher family sizes in general and more womenhousehold members [this has its own implication ondaughters time allocation]• are more likely heads of their households.• are relatively older• have held relatively more some sort of official, village ortraditional position
  • 23. Conclusion• Women’s participation in cooperatives is limited both asmembers and as leaders.– Therefore, there should be more efforts in improving women’sparticipation• Such efforts in its current form do not seem to be persuasive– As it was evidenced by the effect of the link between cooperatives andgovernment officials on women’s participation; none.• But, the new cooperative certification program to have goodgender practice standards as a criteria of certification is agood entry point
  • 24. Conclusion• Cooperatives’ characteristics– The ways cooperatives are organized and function is alsofound to significantly affect women’s proportion incooperatives– Leaders’ characteristics are also found to be the mainfactor that determines women’s participation incooperatives• leaders of cooperatives should be educated/educated membersshould become leaders• leaders should be trained, especially on the issue of improvingwomen’s participation. This should be done for potential femaleleaders also [could be the few women members].
  • 25. Conclusion• Individual/household characteristics– Women are found significantly less probable to be member ofcooperatives• One of the main reasons is seemingly related with their power ofdecision making in the household• most of the women that are members of cooperatives are headsof their households– Empowering women in their household improves women’sparticipation in cooperatives– Women who come from households with educated heads and whohave higher average levels of education are also more likely to be amember.• Education plays a significant role in improving women’sparticipation in cooperatives
  • 26. Conclusion• Good practice;– Gender training on the benefit of increased female participation andleadership to• both cooperative office administrators at regional, woreda andKebele levels and• to male-dominated cooperatives– First starting with women’s smaller self-help groups to build theircapacity, their financial literacy and assets to then support them tojoin more formal cooperatives– Supporting women to first join together into female cooperativeswhile also supporting mixed-sex ones to ensure integration andlinkages of both.
  • 27. Conclusion• The Government of Ethiopia (GoE) has recognized gender as anational development priority.– Its Agricultural Cooperatives Sector Development Strategy (2012-2016), sets targets to achieve 30 percent representation of women incooperatives by 2016.• It may set a quota of at least one woman elected boardmember at both primary and union levels
  • 28. Thank you!