Women’s Bargaining Power and Extreme Poverty—An Exploratory Study of Gendered Relations of Women in the Targeting the Ultra Poor (TUP) Program

This paper explores whether poor women’s (who are part of the CFPR/TUP program) agency within the household structure changes with the change in their economic positioning in the household. It examines possible links between assets gained through the program and how women’s economic power shifts in the household, which may, in turn, increase their bargaining power in the household. Analysis of the findings in this exploratory study shows that female household heads (both de jure and de facto) did not differ significantly in expressing agency in terms of management and control over TUP assets compared to married TUP women who were primary and joint decision-makers. However, it is interesting to note that these women interpreted the perception of empowerment and being able to exercise control and actively participate in the management of TUP assets differently. Most of the female heads and joint decision-makers in male-headed households positively evaluated the change resulting from being part of the TUP program. On the other hand, most of the primary decision-makers expressed reluctant agency in terms of management of the asset and being responsible for both major and minor household decisions. The joint decision-makers felt more empowered because access to the TUP asset had shifted their economic position and positively influenced their bargaining power in the household decision-making structure and they were satisfied with sharing the responsibility of the household with their male counterparts.

Authors: Nazneen, Sohela; Selim, Nasheeba
Type: Report
Year: 2005