Decision-making Power of Women in Livestock and Dairy Production in Jordan
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Dina Najjar, Bipasha Baruah, Nadira Al-Jawhari. (21/12/2019). Decision-making Power of Women in Livestock and Dairy Production in Jordan. Lebanon: International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).
Women are heavily involved in livestock rearing and milk processing in many parts of the world. Yet the benefits of their labour are limited as men are responsible for marketing of the dairy produce and ownership of livestock. This study was designed to understand livelihood strategies employed by women and men to carry out the rearing of livestock and processing of milk products in South Jordan. The main purpose of this study is to explore livestock ownership, as well as labour expenditure and decision-making power in sales, purchases, and expenditure of income in livestock production and milk processing in the Khreisha villages of Jordan. The thirteen villages in the Khreisha area were selected purposefully for the study as they had previously identified the production of milk and jameed (a type of cheese that is very specific to Jordan) and related milk products as their primary livelihood strategy. The empirical data for this study was collected through a survey administered to 197 farmers (94 women and 103 men) in Khreisha villages. The survey data was complemented with 71 unstructured interviews with male and female participants in livestock and dairy production. Survey questions were designed to collect data about demographic characteristics of respondents, their primary and secondary economic activities, types of livestock owned, reasons for preference of ownership of specific livestock breeds, sex disaggregated patterns of ownership and control of livestock, gender composition and dynamics of cooperatives and group formation, problems encountered with livestock rearing and production of jameed and other milk products. Additionally, we tried to gain a sex-disaggregated sense of the most useful innovations for livestock production and milk processing. Our findings have revealed that although women are responsible for much of the labour involved in milk processing and livestock rearing, they have limited decision-making power and own few livestock heads in these two enterprises. We identify 11 cases where women increase their decision-making power in milk processing who were also commercial producers of jameed. We conduct semi-interviews with these 11 women and their families to understand the factors that enabled some women to transition from subsistence production to commercial production. Ownership of milk processing machines as well as purchase of milk by women themselves increases the ability of women to decide on the expenditure of related income. We argue that women livestock ownership and agricultural innovations, particularly those related to dairy processing, have the potential to increase decision-making power (joint or independent) for women to gain benefits from labour they invest in livestock rearing and milk processing.