Gender, Participation and Decision Making Process in Farming Activities: the case of Yilman Densa District, Amhara Region, Ethiopia

Mihiret Mulugeta, Tadesse Amsalu


Women play a significant  role in agriculture,  the world over. Despite women’s critical contributions to the family income through farming activities, no recognition is given to them as an important contributor. The study was carried out in Yilmana Densa district, Ethiopia, with the objective to find out the participation and decision making process of rural women in farming activities. A sample of 90 respondents was selected from three villages using multistage random sampling technique. Data were collected from women respondents using semi-structured questionnaire, and from men group, women group and experts using focus group discussions (FGDs). The data collected were analyzed using SPSS software. Results show that rural women regularly engaged and participated in critical farming activities including weeding, seed preparation, selling agricultural commodities, and harvesting. The level of their participation is limited in ploughing farmland, spreading chemicals, and crop protection activities. Most rural women did not have any role in decision making with regard  to  purchase/sale  of farming  implements,  land  preparation  and determination  of type  and  amount  of chemicals (pesticides, herbicides) used. Rural women’s participation in farm management decision making is quite minimal. Lack of experience, illiteracy, false assumption about the role of rural women in agriculture, shortage of technical knowledge/skills, and limited extension service are the main determinant  factors affecting the participation of rural women in decision making process in the study area. Thus, all the possible  opportunities  should be created for rural women to improve their level of participation and decision making in farming activities. Well organized  and integrated  awareness  creation strategy should also be designed and facilitated  by stakeholders to minimize  the social,  cultural,  and economic factors affecting rural women’s decision making.

Keywords: Decision making, farming activities, gender, participation, rural women

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