Influence of small scale businesses on decision making capacity of rural women in Ethiopia: the case of Edget Bandinet Saving and Credit Cooperative in Muketuri
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Ethiopia’s poor have suffered from the global economic crisis, as the price of goods consumed increase. Rural women and girls bear the greatest burdens of this situation, since they have a role in livestock maintenance and management, crop production and marketing of agricultural produce (EMFA, 2010). Ethiopian women suffer from low literacy levels and poor access to public services, and most of them derive their income from small scale production. Lacks of investment make it difficult for women to earn a living from agriculture. Financially independence of women’s doesn’t always lead in decision making on issues related income utilization and choices of life. This research aimed to assess the influence of small scale business on women’s decision making capacity. For the assessment the case of a credit and saving association in Muketure was taken. Using simple random sampling method 52 members were selected. 10 non-members were included as check. The tools of data collection were interview and questionnaires. Employment opportunities were extremely limited due to gender-based factors. As a result of tradition and a stereotyped gender division of labour between men and women, women and girls were placed in a subordinate position. The lack of access to and control over resources has forced females to bear the burden of poverty, be dependent on men and powerless to make decisions on family’s incomes. Women were subjected to various types of gender based violence. The study showed that the flow of capital in women’s hands has improved their decision making capacity on issues related with the family and community. Women were able to generate income from their business, buy materials for the family, and meet and bargain with people without the consent of their husbands. However, women’s decision making capacity has depended on the family background. The study found out that small scale business has pragmatic and significant impact in improving women’s decision making capacity within the family as well as in the community.