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Women’s decision-making roles in vegetable production, marketing and income utilization in Nepal’s hills communities

Ramesh Balayar and Robert Mazur

World Development Perspectives, 2021, vol. 21, issue C

Abstract: Women in rural Nepal are increasingly interested in vegetable production and marketing (VPM) to earn income. Such innovative behavior conflicts with traditional patriarchal socio-cultural norms and is still relatively rare. Constrained by limited economic opportunities, smallholder households are increasingly under pressure to meet livelihood needs. In depth interviews, focus group discussions and field observations reveal family members, especially husbands and wives, jointly initiate VPM and collectively contest any unfavorable socio-cultural practices against women in these activities. Earning income, training, exposure visits, peer learning, women’s group activities and program subsidies strongly support women’s negotiations with their husbands and extended family members regarding continued and intensified VPM and expanded decision-making roles. Young and educated women more commonly contest restrictive practices and participate in all types of important decisions. Women manage household cash, have more freedom to spend income, and feel a strong sense of dignity and empowerment. However, some women still rely on their husbands for important decisions and are hesitant to travel to markets for training and exposure visits. Overall, we find clear evidence of women as active decision makers, farm managers and income earners.

Keywords: Gender in agriculture; Empowerment; Joint decision-making; Socio-cultural practices; Asia (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.wdp.2021.100298

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