The role of gender and ethnicity in household decision-making: Evidence from rural Nepal

Gender disparity in household decision-making is a common phenomenon in developing countries. It is influenced by ethnicity, culture and geographical location. Household decision-making processes were examined in rural Nepal with a primary focus on gender roles in the context of three distinct ethnic communities (Brahmin/Chhetri, Gurung and Tharu) in the Chitwan district. A combination of participatory rural appraisal (n=6), gender analysis (n=6), key informant interviews (n=14) and a household socio-economic survey (n=123) were used to collect data. At the household level men and women were interviewed separately. The involvement of women in economic activities was quite high but differed substantially between the ethnic groups and by type of household economic activity. Proportionately fewer Brahmin/Chhetri women were engaged in livestock husbandry compared to the other two ethnic groups. Men and women jointly decided the allocation of family labour to on-farm and marketing activities, but there was a large variation across the ethnic groups (eg. 43% in Gurung vs. 90% in Tharu communities). Women were more involved in household management and family well-being related activities than men in all three ethnic groups, with the highest participation rates occurring amongst the Tharu women. The study supports the argument that poverty alleviation strategies and projects to improve rural well-being should be sensitive to gender roles and ethnicity.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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