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Gender, social capital and empowerment in northern Ethiopia

Nega, Fredu and Mathijs, Erik and Deckers, Josef and Tollens, Eric (2009): Gender, social capital and empowerment in northern Ethiopia.

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This paper investigates the interactions between gender, social capital and empowerment in the rural areas of northern Ethiopia. We define empowerment narrowly as the power of households to make important decisions that change their course of life. Depending on the degree of control over decisions, the response of households is classified into passive, active and full control. A multinomial logit model is used to analyze empowerment levels of the rural households, first for the full sample of households and then for male headed and female headed households separately. Findings indicate that social capital, measured by the number of local associations a household is a member of, is an important factor in empowerment, but with significant gender differences. Social capital is significant for male headed households but not for female headed households; for the latter, education and access to credit are the strongest determinants of empowerment.

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