Women Entrepreneurship and Gender Equality as a Tool for Social Transformation in Nigeria: Evidence from Selected Rice Farmers in Anambra East Local Government (Published)
Women are viewed as the foundation of development of country and national economies as well as agents of social change. Nonetheless, traditions, beliefs and cultural norms limit women’s capacity to acquire land and add to increase gender gaps in the quality and size of owned farmland. This kind of challenge made rural women to form different associations and groups, for instance, Rice Farmers Association, The Village Savings and Loan Associations and Daily Contribution association etc to empower themselves. This research examined the “Omambala” Women’s Rice Farmers Association in South East area of Nigeria and how the women group has achieved social change around there. Majority of the members (over 94%) are smallholder farmers. These women make consistent membership contributions, a social fund contributions and records are kept and the monies kept in a saving funds box, which is opened at a concurred time. Individuals members get their monies as per the sum contributed and the social fund contributions is used to purchase farm implements and inputs for members, build social amenities, reconstruct health care centers, re-construct dilapidated school blocks, offers grants to poverty stricken children and so forth. This paper examines the viability of this women rice farmers association as an instrument for gender balance and social transformation in Anambra State Nigeria. This research was done in villages at Anambra East local government where majority of the women are farmers and makes farming their major means of livelihood. 160 members and administrators of the group were interviewed using key informant interview and Focus Group Discussions. Data generated was analysed using simple percentage and frequency tables. Findings from the research shows that women farmers contributes a great deal to social change and economic development; traditions, beliefs and cultural norms influences the performance level of these women and climate change is an obstruction to their growth. The investigation in this manner prescribes that, to increase gender gaps, women ought to be permitted to possess farmlands; cultural norms that limits women from taking part completely in agriculture ought to be abrogated. Moreover, sufficient measures should to be taken by people and government to forestall flooding during raining season.