ASSESSMENT OF THE ROLE OF GENDER IN COOPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT IN AWKA-NORTH L.G.A ANAMBRA STATE OF NIGERIA
This study had the objective of assessing the role of gender in cooperative development, analyzing the socio-economic profile of the cooperators on the basis of gender, assessing gender contributions to cooperative development in terms of membership, organizational and leadership structures, examining technical efficiency and factors hindering the implementation of gender sensitive program and activities in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State. A field survey was conducted to collect data from one hundred and fifty (150) respondents. The study employed descriptive statistics, stochastic cobb Douglas frontier function as well as ranking method in the analysis of data collected. The result of the study indicates that female cooperators, who are within the active age, are reasonably literate and dominate the leadership role in cooperatives. The result also shows that farm size and fertilizer use lead to increase in technical or productive efficiency among cooperators. The major constraint is gender imbalance or inequality, conflicting interests, low level of participation, wrong timing of meetings, and long distance to meeting venue. The estimation of technical efficiency of the cooperators was estimated using cobb-Douglas functional form of stochastic c frontier model. The coefficients of farm size and fertilizer possess a positive sign, while gender possessed a negative coefficient and highly significant, although it does not confirm with a priori expectation, it shows that female cooperators contribute more to technical or productive efficiency of their enterprises than their male counterparts . Hypothesis was tested using chi-sqared X2. This paper recommends that cooperatives should address equality issues and make a firm commitment in their mandate to correct imbalances where they exist and to attain equitable and sustainable development with both men and women in decision- making and leadership position.