Women Empowerment Through Self-Help Groups: The Bittersweet Fruits of Collective Apple Cultivation in Highland Ethiopia

Sintayehu Hailu Alemu*, Luuk Van Kempen, Ruerd Ruben

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper deals with the impact of self-help groups (SHGs) in apple production on empowering women in the Chencha district of Southern Ethiopia. Impact is traced on the basis of a cross-sectional survey among SHG members and nonmembers, using propensity score matching. Apart from the attitudinal changes among SHG and non-SHG women, we also scrutinize differences in male attitudes concerning the status of women. The results point towards positive and significant impacts of SHG participation on empowerment at the community level, which suggests that SHGs offer an effective space for women to share information and raise awareness about their rights. This could in turn be harnessed collectively to negotiate more “room to maneuver” in the community. At the same time, however, the data hint at negative effects from group participation at the household level. The attitudinal differences between treatment and control group indicate more conflictive relations between spouses, arguably due to an intensified fight to assert control over household resources. Hence, the evidence is consistent with a potential “backlash effect” from husbands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-330
JournalJournal of Human Development and Capabilities
Volume19
Issue number3
Early online date11 Apr 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Apple cultivation
  • Bargaining power
  • Ethiopia
  • Impact evaluation
  • Keywords: Women empowerment
  • Male backlash
  • Self-help groups

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