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Rural women’s participation in producer organizations: An analysis of the barriers that women face and strategies to foster equitable and effective participation


  • Kaaria, Susan
  • Osorio, Martha
  • Wagner, Sophie
  • Gallina, Ambra


Over the last several decades, participation in producer organizations has become a key principle of development, enabling people’s empowerment, inclusiveness, and facilitating democracy. Producer organizations have become crucial actors to provide services to the rural poor, and women’s participation and leadership in producer organizations has become a focus of rural and agricultural development efforts. This review paper aims to document the factors that hinder women’s participation in producer organizations. The review identifies several factors as major barriers for women’s participation, including: socio-cultural norms; women’s double burden and triple roles; women’s status, age and previous membership in organizations; access to assets and resources; educational level; organizations’ rules of entry, and; legal and policy environment. The paper also provides a review of lessons and good practice that can be applied by Agricultural Research for Development institutions. The review identified strategies for strengthening women’s participation in producer organizations at the individual/household, community/producer organization, and policy level. The review found that at the individual/household level, strategies to improve individual capabilities and intra-household relations were crucial for promoting women’s participation and leadership in producer organizations. Similarly, at the producer organizational level strategies to ensure that the structures and governance mechanisms are more gender sensitive, and promote women’s inclusion, are crucial. Equally important are policies for promoting gender-sensitive producer organizations and specific measures geared at promoting women’s active participation in producers’ organizations.

Suggested Citation

  • Kaaria, Susan & Osorio, Martha & Wagner, Sophie & Gallina, Ambra, 2016. "Rural women’s participation in producer organizations: An analysis of the barriers that women face and strategies to foster equitable and effective participation," Journal of Gender, Agriculture and Food Security (Agri-Gender), Africa Centre for Gender, Social Research and Impact Assessment, vol. 1(2).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:afgend:246035
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.246035

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    2. R. Ochago & M. N. Mangheni & R. F. Miiro, 2016. "Gender and social economic factors affecting IPM knowledge acquisition and application: A case study of coffee farmer group members in bugisu, Uganda," Asian Journal of Agriculture and rural Development, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 6(9), pages 175-187, September.
    3. Bright Owusu Asante & Ranjitha Puskur & Elizabeth Garner & Margaret Najjingo Mangheni & Richard Adabah & Maxwell Darko Asante & Benedicta Nsiah Frimpong & Stephen Prah, 2023. "Access and Control of Resources and Participation in Rice-Breeding Activities among Men and Women Farmers in Southern Ghana," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(9), pages 1-28, April.
    4. Dung, Luu Tien, 2020. "A Multinomial Logit Model Analysis of Farmers’ Participation in Agricultural Cooperatives: Evidence from Vietnam," Asian Journal of Applied Economics, Kasetsart University, Center for Applied Economics Research, vol. 27(1).
    5. Ravichandran, Thanammal & Teufel, Nils & Capezzone, Filippo & Birner, Regina & Duncan, Alan J., 2020. "Stimulating smallholder dairy market and livestock feed improvements through local innovation platforms in the Himalayan foothills of India," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 95(C).
    6. Stella Nordhagen & Abdoulaye Traoré, 2022. "Group-based approaches to nutrition-sensitive agriculture: insights from a post-project sustainability study in Côte d’Ivoire," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 14(2), pages 337-353, April.
    7. Renata Serra & Kelly A. Davidson, 2021. "Selling Together: The Benefits of Cooperatives to Women Honey Producers in Ethiopia," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 72(1), pages 202-223, February.

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