Does Women’s Participation in Livestock Management Enhance their Empowerment? An Insight from the Tribal Belt of Pakistan
Shaista Naz1*, Noor P. Khan1, Himayatullah Khan1 and Azra2
Women served as the major participant in livestock management at the domestic level and supporting rural livelihoods with the provision of multiple products for consumption and sale. However, the question arises that women’s participation in livestock management has some relation to their empowerment or it is not a debatable issue. To address the issue, this research is carried out in the tribal areas of Pakistan for which data were collected from 323 randomly selected female respondents from 323 randomly selected households in Mohmand Agency. The collected data were analyzed using percent participation, descriptive statistics, and Decision Making Index (DMI). The results showed that the decisions related to livestock management were mostly taken by both women and men jointly (44%), followed by men alone (27 %) and women (25%) independently. It has been found that six kinds of livestock management activities such as milk/by-products and its marketing, milk handling and processing, animal health problems, animals keeping place, and number and breed of animals were more significant for assessing women empowerment as depicted by the high DMI value of above 0.80. Moderate level of women empowerment was observed in the activities of animals’ purchase (0.57), animals’ sale (0.59), and livestock income utilization (0.63) due to their low level of mobility and technical know-how. Almost all the household activities were directly related to the power of men due to the DMI value of below 0.50. The average DMI was 0.98 for livestock management activities as compared to 0.42 for household matters which indicate that women were enjoying a high level of decision-making power/empowerment in livestock management as compared to household matters. The study concludes that women’s participation enhances women’s empowerment. However, the provision of technical knowledge and guidance to women are suggested to increase their participation in the decisions related to livestock management activities and ultimately for women empowerment. Moreover, there is still a need to enhance women’s decision-making power at the household level for the development of Pakistani society.