Did conditional cash transfers in the Productive Safety Net Program empower women in Tigray, north-east Ethiopia?

Megos Desalegne Gelagay and Els Lecoutere
Discussion paper 2019.01

Abstract
Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT), policy instruments for social protection, also have potential to economically empower women. The assessment of the impact of the CCT component in the Productive Safety Net Program in Tigray, Ethiopia, on women’s economic empowerment generates important insights for policy and future CCT programs in similar contexts. Not only does it demonstrate a differential impact on diverse aspects of women’s economic empowerment, it also shows a heterogeneity in the effects in man- and woman-headed households. Women’s access and decision-making power over credit is positively impacted in both types of households, yet, the effect seems larger among woman-headed households, suggesting CCT affect married women differently in this regard. Negative effects are observed as well and call for particular policy attention. Among woman-headed households, CCT reduced women’s decision-making power over agricultural production and asset transfers. If this means women received help in agricultural production and safeguarding their assets as part of the program, this might actually be positive, provided women themselves also appreciate sharing decision-making power. Among man-headed households, there is a negative effect on women’s time available for leisure, which corroborates other findings of increased work burdens due to conditionalities; but here, this only affects married women.

Download this publication