Determinants of Women Empowerment in Cooperative Societies A Survey in South Eastern Zone Tigray Region of Ethiopia

Kifle Tesfamariam Sebhatu


Empowerment has always been fundamental to the cooperative idea where weaker section of the people get together to achieve goals that they would not be able to achieve on their own. The members themselves decide the goals and, since cooperatives are organized on the principle of one person - one vote, the cooperative form of enterprise provides women with the opportunity of participating on equal terms with men. Cooperative enterprises can take on different forms: they can be set up by a group of enterprises or by individual entrepreneurs wishing to benefit from shared services, cheaper goods, and easier access to markets or higher prices for their products(Mayoux, C.L. (2003). However, what they all have in common is that, as a group, members are able to create economies of scale and increase their influence and bargaining power. In many developing countries women work individually, often isolated, in the informal economy, operating at a low level of activity and reaping marginal income. Joining forces in small-scale cooperatives can provide them with the economic and social leverage they need(Kishor, S & Gupta, K. (2004).

Various literatures also state that cooperatives are one of the means to empowerment women. There are few cooperative organizations in Ethiopia operate in the area of women empowerment using cooperatives and; Saving and Credit Cooperatives found in D/Tembien is one among them. This research has made an ideal attempt to deal with the role of cooperative in promoting women empowerment, taking member households of this particular organization in focus.

Empowerment of women is crucial for their emancipation and meaningful participation in the decision making process at every level. Hence, to bring about this change women’s socially and economical empowerment is crucial. Ethiopian women are no exception from the existing deprivation of rights of decision-making and therefore, need empowerment at every level. Besides, it is believed that increasing women’s access to financial products will in itself increase household income, which will then translate into improved well-being for women and enable women to bring about wider changes in gender inequality. In economic empowerment, women’s access to savings and credit through saving and credit programs gives them a greater economic role in decision making through participation in terms of optimize their own and the households welfare. Therefore, taking this gloomy picture of women’s situation into account, this paper aims at to identify the determinants women empowerment in of cooperative society taking SACCO found in Degua- Tembien Wereda, Tigray region of Ethiopia is a acase study for this particular research. As the research was based mainly up on primary data from the sample SACCO members and documentation from Wereda the Cooperative. The next section offers a review of the basic concepts employed in the paper concerning women empowerment. The following section describes the survey and the methods applied to analyse the data collected, while the results of the analysis are illustrated in the subsequent section. The last section concludes and recommendation for further investigation and action.

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