Empowerment through technology

Gender dimensions of social capital build-up in Maharashtra, India

This paper explores how and to what extent women and men have benefited from the build-up of social capital in technology uptake, and the role of women in this process. Using a case study on Groundnut Production Technology (GPT) in Maharashtra, India, a systematic documentation of the process by which farmers - both men and women -as well as the whole community became empowered through the build-up of social capital is presented. The focus of the paper is on collective action as a mechanism to stimulate gender-equitable change processes. Our evidence suggests that the technology uptake process was enhanced with the build up of social capital, whereby men and women from all class and caste groups came together for improving their livelihoods. Collective action was enhanced with the increased involvement and participation of women. Strong kinship ties were developed among diverse classes all over the village including landless tribal women, who formed the major labor force for this technology. The paper concludes that social networks played a crucial mediating role in the process of technology uptake. The build-up of social capital played an important role in influencing impacts from the technology because of the ways in which social networks and social relationships facilitated technology dissemination. Gender relations played a significant role in mediating the translation of economic benefits into well being of the individual, the family and community. Finally, it is suggested that further insights into the role of social networks and power relations in the village may be examined in greater detail by establishing the village network architecture, especially marginalized groups.

Author: 
Padmaja, Ravula
Bantilan, Cynthia
Published date: 
2007
Publisher: 
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Series number: 
63
PDF file: 
application/pdf iconCAPRIWP63.pdf(348.1KB)