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Gender relations in smallholder cattle production in Zambia

Mary Lubungu and Regina Birner

World Development Perspectives, 2021, vol. 22, issue C

Abstract: In recent years, women empowerment has been a topical issue on the global development agenda, and evidence suggests that ownership of productive assets leads to intra-household empowerment. In smallholder rural households, ownership of productive assets such as cattle is considered a valuable asset as it provides multiple benefits. Despite the importance of owning cattle, gender differences are more pronounced in cattle ownership compared to small livestock in Sub-Saharan African countries. Therefore, this study examines in detail why the cattle gender gap continues to persist. Addressing this knowledge gap requires identifying how female household members acquire cattle and understand what cattle ownership means from a gendered lens. It is also essential to determine the factors associated with the proportion of cattle owned by female household members and determining if the share of cattle owned by female household members is correlated with cattle herd productivity and women empowerment. We used a mixed-methods approach to address the study objectives. Our qualitative findings suggest that though women can acquire cattle through various means, they often do not have full ownership based on the bundles of rights. The quantitative estimations show that even though women are likely to own cattle, the likelihood to increase the share of cattle they own is less due to the perceived intrahousehold conflicts that are likely to ensue. This suggests that the cattle ownership gender gap is likely to continue to persist. We also find insignificant negative correlation between the share of cattle owned by female household members and cattle herd productivity. However, we find that female household headship, education, cattle mortality, and birth rates are the key drivers of cattle herd productivity. Conversely, women empowerment is positively correlated with the share of cattle owned by female household members. Finally, we discuss how these findings could help the development programs that focus on women.

Keywords: Livestock ownership; Productivity; Empowerment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:wodepe:v:22:y:2021:i:c:s2452292921000230

DOI: 10.1016/j.wdp.2021.100309

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