Participation of Women in Rural Cooperatives: Evidence from Gewane and Fentale Districts of Afar Region, Ethiopia

Derib W Yohannes


The study was conducted in Fentale and Gewane districts of Afar, in north eastern Ethiopia with the objectives: to assess the extent of women’s’ participation in rural cooperatives and to examine major factors influencing women’s participation in rural cooperatives. Data for the study were derived from 10 purposively selected cooperatives. All women members were considered. The primary data necessary for the quantitative study were collected through personal interviews from 90 women drawn purposefully from 10 cooperatives by conducting formal survey using structured interview schedule. Qualitative data were collected through focus group discussion, observations, and informal discussion with key informants. Descriptive statistics with appropriate statistical tests, T test for significant and Karl Pearson’s Correlation were used to analyse the data. The findings showed that women are conspicuously under-represented in decision making, implementing decisions, shouldering responsibility, attending general meeting, involvement in share purchasing and leadership. The survey result showed that the majority of the respondents were not aware of the rules, the by-laws, principles, values, rights and obligation of members and how income is distributed. The output of Pearson correlation analysis indicated that age, duration of membership, livestock ownership, total income, distance, awareness about cooperative, training access, position of women, shows a significant relationship with participation. Lack of awareness, culture, lack of access to information, work load in the house, lack of education, lack of capital, the negative attitude of the society towards women and mobility were the most important factors contributing to the inactive participation of women in cooperatives in the study area. Therefore, cooperatives should focus on creating awareness, educating women, increasing training access to women and educating the society to bring attitudinal change on gender issue.

Keywords: women, participation, cooperative.

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