Assessment Of The Role Of Gender In Cooperative Development

Project and Seminar Material for Economics

Assessment Of The Role Of Gender In Cooperative Development


Abstract


This study had the objective of assessing the role of gender in cooperative development, analyzing the socio-economic profile of the cooperators on the basis of gender, assessing gender contributions to cooperative development in terms of membership, organizational and leadership structures, examining technical efficiency and factors hindering the implementation of gender sensitiveprogram and activities in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State. A field survey was conducted to collect data from one hundred and fifty(150) respondents. The study employed descriptive statistics, stochastic cobb Douglas frontier function as well as ranking method in the analysis of data collected.

The result of the study indicates that female cooperators, who are within the active age, are reasonably literate and dominate the leadership role in cooperatives. The result also shows that farm size and fertilizer use lead to increase in technical or productive efficiency among cooperators. The major constraint is gender imbalance or inequality, conflicting interests, low level of participation, wrong timing of meetings, and long distance to meeting venue. The estimation of technical efficiency of the cooperators was estimated using cobb-Douglas functional form of stochastic c frontier model.

The coefficients of farm size and fertilizer possess a positive sign, while gender possessed a negative coefficient and highly significant, although it does not confirm with a priori expectation, it shows that female cooperators contribute more to technical or productive efficiency of their enterprises than their male counterparts . Hypothesis was tested using chi-sqared X2. This paper recommends that cooperatives should address equality issues and make a firm commitment in their mandate to correct imbalances where they exist and to attain equitable and sustainable development with both men and women in decision- making and leadership position.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women. Gender concept simply refers to the socially-determined and culturally specific differences between women and men as opposed to the biological determined differences. Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary 6th edition sees gender as the fact of being male or female; gender specific issue is connected with women only or with men only. Reeves and Baden (2000) sees gender as the “socially determined ideas and practices of what it is to be female or male; these ideas and practices are sanctioned and reinforced by a host of cultural, political and economic institutions including household, legal and governance structure, markets and religion. Furthermore, gender could also be seen as socio-economic variables which aid the analysis of roles, responsibilities, constraints and opportunities of both men and women.Gender which is commonly used interchangeably with ‘sex’ within the academic fields of cultural studies, gender studies and the social sciences in general; often refers to purely social rather than biological differences, this means that ‘gender roles’ are formed through socialization. Meanwhile, the concept gender is an important analytical tool in the planning management, monitoring and evaluation of development programs or cooperative projects which requires that women are considered in relation to men in a socio-cultural setting and not as an isolated group. Gender roles focus on household and community roles because gender roles are different in any society. This is because in each society there are functions of what women and men of that society are expected to do in their adult life. Since gender roles are formed through socialization, children are socialized to internalize these roles; girls and boys are prepared for their different but specific roles. Gender roles can be defined as the roles that are played by both women and men which are not determined by biological factors but by the socio-economic and cultural environment or situation. Men and women are also characterized by different roles which mean that men take the lead in productive activities, and women in reproductive activities, where the latter include the reproduction of the family and even of society itself. Obviously, women and men’s roles and responsibilities are separate but they complement one another. UNDP (1995) opined that gender is an economic issue as well as a social issue, in fact more so in Africa than in any other Region and that both men and women play substantial economic roles, notably in Agriculture and in the informal sector, but they are not evenly distributed across the sectors of the economy. Word Bank (2000) on economic roles of men and women in Africa made the argument that Africa has enormous unexploited potentials with hidden growth reserves in its people, including the potential of its women, who now provide more that half the Region’s labour but lack equal access to education and factors of production. It concluded that gender equality can be a potent force for accelerated poverty reduction in Africa and Nigeria in particular. Although ‘gender’ and ‘women’ are often used interchangeably, they are not the same. However, most gender analyses usually find that women are disproportionately disadvantaged, that is why the majority of gendered interventions target women. As a result of this, the discussions on gender roles at household and community level revealed that women do all the reproductive work as well as most of the productive work. Women have a bigger share of communities roles.

Women are continuously taking up roles that were traditionally considered the role of the men, (building). Finally, both men and women agreed that some men are not taking sufficient responsibility in the homes and that this is one of the reasons why women take up such responsibilities for the well being of their families. In other words, if a man does not care about building or repairing the family house, the woman has to do so because she cannot continue living under a leaking house which is unsafe for the family. This implies that most of the economic activities are in the hands of women. However,women’s activities are often constrained by household and community management activities like child care, food preparation, subsistence agriculture, etc. This is why Moser (1993) refers to women as assuming a triple role, that is, they are responsible for reproductive,productive and community management activities, and receive little recognition for their unpaid work. Therefore, women, the poor, religious or ethnic minorities may face significant constraints in their attempt to participate in collective action. Women’s exclusion from participation may be a direct result of gender norms, and from other factors that are determined by such norms. In a study of mixed-sex agricultural cooperatives in Nicaragua, Mayoux found women’s participation limited to involvement as day labourers; when women attempt to make their voices heard or gain management positions,they were perceived by others (men and women) as attempting to step out of their appropriate social role. Agarwal et al. (2001) stated that gender roles vary among cultures and overtime, and crosscut by a multitude of identities like ethnicity and class, the gender division of labour usually find men and women relegated to the public and private spheres. Gender roles at household and community level have contributed immensely towards genuine equality of men and women, boys and girls, in economic development. The goal of the youth development services is to develop the youth to their fullest to be creative, innovative, smart, hopeful, result oriented and dynamic. This is because when we are talking of children and youth, we need to consider their different languages, culture and socialization in the economy. More so, irrespective of gender, all children and young people are regarded as youth, and the youth constitute the largest segment in community and agricultural development. According to ICA (1995) the “principle of democratic member control” entails that cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Gender imbalance in employment, in job status, in poverty status, and in earnings over time constitute the major problems affecting the development of cooperative industries (Nicita and Razzaz, 2002). Gender inequality in access to and control of a wide range of economic, human, and social capital assets and resources remains pervasive in Nigeria, and is a core dimension of poverty in this region. Understanding the nature of these disparities, and acting forcefully to remove them, is one of the key tasks of country poverty reduction strategies (PRS). These strategies could be successful enhancing the by technical efficiency of the cooperatives in reducing poverty and supporting the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which targets to promote gender equality. This was adopted by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals in September (2000). Gender inequality directly or indirectly limits economic growth in Anambra State and imposes substantial development costs. (World Bank, 2000). Another problem that needs to be addressed is the unequal relations of power between men and women on the socio-economic level. This results in the unequal distribution of the benefits of development and hinders women participation in the development process (ICA-ILO Gender Package, 2001). Gender disparity in leadership, education, management and employment seems to lower the economic growth of our societies. Although cooperative organizations and governments have policies of equity and equal opportunity, cooperative societies will ensure that women are afforded equal treatment in regard to employment opportunities, promotion, and wages etc. Democratic participation in cooperatives means that men, women and youths should participate equally in cooperatives and that both men’s, women’s and youths’ needs and concerns must be addressed equally. Technical inefficiency (productive inefficiency) is due to inadequate working capital for the cooperators, lack of education, poor management, and low level of participation among members mainly the male cooperators, lack of extension education and service, wrong timing of meetings, conflicting interest, gender inequality, and long distance to meeting venues. Obviously, women all over the world especially in Nigeria form a significant percentage of the world today and despite their contribution to the national economy, cooperatives and rural development, they are often neglected. This means that women occupy a central position in economic production especially in agriculture and in the informal sector but they are not equally distributed across the productive sectors; that is women are being marginalized in mainstream activities (Elson and Evers, 1997).


1.3 Objective of the Study

The general Objective if this study is to assess the role of gender in co-operative development. Specifically, the study is aimed at;

  1. Analyze the socio-economic profile of the cooperators on the basis of gender.
  2. Assess gender contributions to cooperative development in terms of membership, organizational and leadership structures.
  3. Examine the technical efficiency of cooperators.
  4. Compare the technical efficiency of the cooperators along gender lines;
  5. Examine factors hindering the implementation of gender sensitive programmes and activities in the societies; and
  6. Make recommendations based on the findings.

1.4 Research Question

The study will be guided by the following questions;

  1. What is the socio-economic profile of the cooperators on the basis of gender?
  2. What is the technical efficiency of cooperators?
  3. What is the technical efficiency of the cooperators along gender lines?
  4. What are the factors hindering the implementation of gender sensitive programmes and activities in the societies?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

The study will test the validity of the the following hypotheses;

  • H01: There is no gender discrepancy in cooperative societies.
  • H02: Gender sensitive programmes and activities in the societies has not been effectively implemented

1.5 Significance of the Study

The significance of the study cannot be overemphasized as it will unveil the ocio-economic profile of the cooperators on the basis of gender; the technical efficiency of cooperators, the technical efficiency of the cooperators along gender lines, and the factors hindering the implementation of gender sensitive programmes and activities in the societies. Additionally, the recommendations made in the chapter five of this study will be relevantly used to manage the factors hindering the implementation of gender sensitive programmes and activities in the societies. More so, the study will contribute to the body of existing literature and hence will serve as a source of information to students and researchers who may want to carry out a study on a related topic.


1.6 Scope of the Study

This study examines the role of gender in cooperative development, with specific focus on the socio-economic profile of the cooperators on the basis of gender, gender contributions to cooperative development in terms of membership, organizational and leadership structures, the technical efficiency of cooperators, the technical efficiency of the cooperators along gender lines and factors hindering the implementation of gender sensitive programmes and activities in the societies. Hence the study will be carried out in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State.


1.8 Limitation of the Study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents.

In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings into the role of gender in co-operative development using Awka North Local Government Area Of Anambra State as case study. Respondents for this study were obtained from and among farmers who are cooperators in the study area. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.


5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was to assess the role of gender in co-operative development using Awka North Local Government Area Of Anambra State as case study. The study specifically was aimed at analyzing the socio-economic profile of the cooperators on the basis of gender, assessing gender contributions to cooperative development in terms of membership, organizational and leadership structures, examining the technical efficiency of cooperators, comparing the technical efficiency of the cooperators along gender lines; examining factors hindering the implementation of gender sensitive programmes and activities in the societies; and making recommendations based on the findings.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 150 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are activefarmers who are cooperators in Awka North Local Government Area Of Anambra State.


5.3 Conclusions

Based on the findings of the study, the researcher concluded that;

  1. More females are involved in farmers multi-purpose co-operative societies, and they are reasonably within the active age as well experienced and are small holders with bloated household size.
  2. Female cooperators, who are within the active age, are reasonably literate and dominate the leadership role in cooperatives.
  3. Farm size and fertilizer use led to increase in technical or productive efficiency among cooperators.
  4. Constraints to Implementation of Gender Sensitive Programmes include; gender imbalance or inequality, conflicting interest, low level of participation, wrong timing of meetings and long distance to meeting venue.
  5. The coefficients of farm size and fertilizer possess a positive sign, while gender possessed a negative coefficient and highly significant. Although, it does not confirm with a priori expectation, it shows that female cooperators contribute more to technical or productive efficiency of their enterprises than their male counterparts.
  6. There is gender discrepancy in cooperative societies.
  7. Gender sensitive programmes and activities in the societies has not been effectively implemented

5.3 Recommendations

Based on the responses obtained, the researcher recommended that;

  1. Given the fact that farm size had a positive influence on efficiency, the proposed land reform agenda of the present administration should be critically addressed to increase and facilitate access to agricultural land by farmers, cooperators and others that are interested in agriculture.
  2. To ensure that large household sizes have their desired effects on agriculture in terms of supply of farm labour, relevant policies should be formulated to increase availability of farm labour such as ban of motor cycles as a means of transport. Such policies have the tendency of reducing rural – urban migration among the youth who are supposed to provide the bulk of labour services to farmers in the rural areas.
  3. Extension education and service should be intensified to ensure that the capacity of the experienced farmers and cooperators are enhanced for greater productivity Intensified sensitization programme should be undertaken by the ADP, with a view to encouraging participation in cooperative activities among ex is ting and prospective male cooperators. This is necessary because of the declining participation of male cooperators in cooperative activities and the increasing problem of gender imbalance therein.
  4. In cooperative sector, it is pertinent to analyze the role and position of men and women in their socio­economic environment in order to identify and address their different needs, develop their strengths and potentials and to ensure an equitable distribution of the benefits of cooperative development in Anambra State, Nigeria.

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