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Despite increasing interest and effort to support women's empowerment globally, women remain a severely disadvantaged group in nearly every country throughout the globe. In the current study, we examine the relationship between women's participation in financial markets and different indices of empowerment. Questionnaires were administered to three groups of Maasai women (N = 224) living in rural, northern Tanzania: women who were members of cooperatively owned business groups, women who owned businesses independently via microcredit loans, and women who did not own businesses. Group difference tests revealed that cooperative business owners reported higher levels of agency than independent owners, and lower levels of partner control and greater involvement in financial decision making than nonbusiness owners. Independent owners reported greater involvement in financial decision making, and lower levels of agency than nonowners. Additionally, results from structural equation models demonstrated that participation in cooperatives, versus independent or nonbusiness ownership, was associated with fewer experiences of domestic violence and enhanced psychological well‐being via the effects of partner control, agency, and financial decision making. Policy implications regarding the importance of considering cultural norms and what may be required to facilitate a transformative context for women are discussed.
Analyses of Social Issues & Public Policy – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 2016
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