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Discussion Sessions Coupled with Microfinancing May Enhance the Roles of Women in Household Decision-Making in Burundi


  • Giulia Ferrari
  • Radha Iyengar


The empowerment of women within households remains a major issue around the world including in Africa. We have conducted a study in Burundi coupling discussion sessions with microfinancing to determine if they enhance the role of women in decisions regarding household purchases and the reduction of domestic violence. We compare our findings to that from a published study in South Africa that combined discussion sessions on life skills and health on reduction in domestic violence and decisions on economic issues. Both studies used randomized controlled experiments. Both studies show a trend towards increases in household authority, with the Burundi study showing statistical significance. In South Africa there was a large, albeit short lived decrease in domestic violence. In Burundi there was small reduction but trend suggest a longer duration. The effects on overall empowerment are small. These studies suggest that a more sustained use of discussion sessions could be beneficial. Future research could focus on the longer term effects of the use of discussion sessions and investigate how the observed impacts can be sustained in magnitude and duration.

Suggested Citation

  • Giulia Ferrari & Radha Iyengar, 2010. "Discussion Sessions Coupled with Microfinancing May Enhance the Roles of Women in Household Decision-Making in Burundi," CEP Discussion Papers dp1010, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1010

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    More about this item


    domestic violence; microfinance; Burundi;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

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