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Gender, Culture and Cash: The relevance of Sociocultural Context in Conditional Cash Transfer Programs. Michelle Adato International Food Policy Research Institute Seminar series on Gender Dimensions of Global Poverty Fordham University New York City April 30, 2007. Outline.

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Gender, Culture and Cash: The relevance of Sociocultural Context in Conditional Cash Transfer Programs

Michelle Adato

International Food Policy Research Institute

Seminar series on

Gender Dimensions of Global Poverty

Fordham University

New York City

April 30, 2007

outline
Outline
  • What are CCT programs?
  • Why CCTs? Trends in development
  • How CCTs focus on women and girls
  • Research findings from Mexico, Nicaragua and Turkey (mainly qualitative and ethnographic)
  • Conclusions on relevance of sociocultural context
what is a conditional cash transfer program
What is a conditional cash transfer program?
  • Means-tested cash benefit given to households under poverty line
  • Sometimes includes nutritional supplements
  • Conditioned on household participation in services, usually:
    • Children’s 80% school attendance
    • Preventative health care such as pre-natal and post-natal check-ups, vaccinations, growth monitoring
    • Mothers participation in health and nutrition training
  • About 20 countries now have or planning to pilot a CCT; 40 attended 2006 international conference
country examples
Country examples
  • Oportunidades/Progresa (Mexico)
  • Bolsa Alimentação(Brazil)
  • Programa de Asignación Familiar, PRAF- Fase II (Honduras)
  • Red de Protección Social (Nicaragua)
  • Social Risk Mitigation Program (Turkey)
  • Food and Cash for Education (Bangladesh)
  • Familias en Acción (Columbia)
  • PATH (Jamaica)
  • Jefes y Jefas (Argentina)
  • Red Solidario (El Salvador)
rise of ccts reflect five trends in development
Rise of CCTs reflect five trends in ‘development’
  • Growth alone insufficient and social protection can contribute to growth
  • Shift from short-term ‘safety nets’ to social protection that contributes to long-term development
  • Major cause of intergenerational transmission of poverty is low levels of education, health and nutrition of children
  • Response to poor performance of livelihoods programs and demand-driven approaches for poorest
  • Obligation rather than entitlement
  • Targeted rather than universal benefits
trends continued
Trends (continued)
  • Increasing attention to the crucial role that women play in household welfare
    • Programs that strengthen women’s position within the household, community, and labor market reduce inequality and improve women’s well-being
    • Income controlled by women more likely to translate into higher household food expenditures and calorie intake and expenditures on health, education, and household services than income controlled by men
how ccts address gender inequalities
How CCTs address gender inequalities
  • “Women’s empowerment” an explicit objective in some programs; implicit in others; not in all
  • Woman is official designated beneficiary and receives cash
    • Accompanied by message that she should control it
    • New collective activities, freedom of movement
  • Focus on women’s health
  • Training for women in health and nutrition
  • Cash transfer often higher for girls than boys, and for secondary school when girls more likely to drop out
findings on gender relations mexico and nicaragua
Findings on gender relations, Mexico and Nicaragua
  • Potential for intra-household tension and conflict as program changes gender roles
    • Regional variations within Mexico
    • Little evidence of domestic violence
  • Men and women support designation of women as beneficiary
    • Women: Women make better decisions
    • Men: Seen as ‘women’s program,’ non-threatening to masculinity
    • Women negotiate program and domestic responsibilities
    • Reduced social strain due to new household resources
  • Increases time burden but worthwhile
findings mexico
Findings, Mexico
  • Transfer amounts decrease men’s sole decisionmaking for 5 out of 8 types of decisions but background characteristics of husband and wife more significant (survey)
  • Does not significantly alter domains of decisionmaking, but
    • Reduces need to ask husband for money
    • Increases her confidence in judging affordability
    • Increases income for items within her decisionmaking domain
findings mexico and nicaragua
Findings, Mexico and Nicaragua
  • New/heightened discourse on importance of women & girls education
  • For elected beneficiary-program liaisons, new leadership and capacities
  • Increased social interaction in meetings, collective activities, and organizations
    • Mothers meetings; health & nutrition workshops; promotora committees (Mexico) community clean-up activities (Mexico, informal), Increases in self-confidence, social awareness
    • But more limited than other approaches
    • Varies significantly by program
findings mexico and nicaragua1
Findings, Mexico and Nicaragua
  • Changes in gender relations modest but important
  • Could be increased through:
    • Adult education, productive projects, community participation, health education for men, greater use of promotora meetings for discussions
  • Need more focus on education, ownership, understanding of program
  • Don’t exclude men
findings southeastern turkey
Findings, southeastern Turkey
  • Increased participation in formal institutions
    • Obtaining marriage & birth certificates, ID cards, bank accounts
  • Strong resistance to program designation of women as beneficiaries; money often handed over to men
  • New role uncomfortable for women; men see it as an affront and challenge from government
  • Men, women and girls largely accept gender roles
    • Strong fear of social dislocation
    • Individual variations are important
  • Little intra-household conflict (little change)
findings southeastern turkey1
Findings, southeastern Turkey
  • Collective activities and beneficiary liaison role difficult to design because women do not gather in groups
  • Some expression of new independence and control of spending, interactions outside of home, but very little compared to Mexico and Nicaragua
survey findings on school enrollment in turkey
Survey findings on school enrollment in Turkey
  • CCT had significant impacts on secondary enrollment at national level: increased by 10.7% for girls aged 14-17 (starting point low at 56%).
  • Little impact at primary level: already high (93%), but secondary level was low
  • But huge regional differences
gender dimensions of schooling decisions
Gender Dimensions of Schooling Decisions
  • Early Marriage
  • Women’s primary identity as wife and mother
      • Education irrelevant or counterproductive
      • Inappropriate for women to work
      • Tradition of ‘abduction’
      • Bride price
gender dimensions of schooling decisions continued
Gender Dimensions of Schooling Decisions (continued)
  • Honor, reputation, sexuality
      • Risks to girls from boys and men inside or outside the school
      • Physical maturity and appearance of girls a factor
      • Fear of gossip, easily damaged reputation and honor
    • Transportation and location of schools
      • Girls can not walk to school
      • Can not afford transportation
      • Inappropriate to travel in vehicle with boys or be driven by man
sociocultural responses to ccts van turkey
Sociocultural responses to CCTs (Van, Turkey)
  • “the girls have only their honor as a valuable thing in the village and it is my duty to prevent any bad words about that… No one sends their daughters to school anyway. Why should I send mine? They will look at them in a bad way.”
  • “Let’s say someone fools her, abducts her, who will clean my name? Are you or is the teacher going to clean my name?.... I would not send her for any money.”
  • “Now I can say to my husband that the government is paying me money for my daughters and I am sending them, it is none of your business now.”
gender and culture in boys schooling decisions
Gender and culture in boys schooling decisions
  • Education important for better quality employment, more dignity, better husbands
    • Depends on nature of livelihoods: urbanization and role of agriculture
  • Less important with high unemployment
  • Values with respect to skill and honor:

“Government is telling me to send my children to school but it is not giving jobs to even boys when they finish school. If he comes back to the sheep, what do I understand about his education? Here comes first honor, then bread. If only left over is education, no way.”

conclusions
Conclusions
  • Relevant contextual factors explaining effects of CCTs:
    • Nature of constraints on education: financial or sociocultural
    • History and tradition of collective organizing, women’s groups
  • No blueprints as CCTs cross the globe
    • What are the gaps in human capital indictors (e.g. primary/secondary? Vaccinations? Nutrition?)
    • What influences decisions on HC investments? (Financial? Infrastructure? Values?)
    • Adaptation to sociocultural context
conclusions continued
Conclusions (continued)
  • Surveys needed to measure human capital impacts, but don’t neglect qualitative and ethnographic research to understand:
    • Diverse expressions of normative behavior and the sanctions associated with non-conformity in different cultural contexts
    • How country and region specific norms for women reflect the interests and desires of women, their daughters, and male household members
    • Ethnic and religious differences, how articulate with other cultural and social practices
    • How these shape program reception and sustainability
    • Implications for program design, kinds of activities offered, regional variations