Gender Relations in Access to and Control over Resources in Awra Amba Community of Amhara Region, Ethiopia
This paper explores gender relations in access to and control over resources in Awra Amba Community of Amhara Region, Ethiopia. The study employed primary and secondary data sources. The primary data were gathered through semistructured interviews with selected community members and key informants, focus group discussions with selected community and committee members and nonparticipant observation of gender roles and relations in the study community. Secondary data were obtained through a critical review of related literature and documents. Both primary and secondary data were organized thematically and analyzed through systematic interpretation and triangulation of various sources. The study found that locally available resources are collectively owned and administered by the ‘Development Committee’ and income is equally distributed to all household heads at the end of each fiscal year. Gender relations in the study community are guided by the principle of mutual understanding among all the members of the community. Women, like their men counterparts, make important decisions through their membership and leadership in different administrative committees. Women members of the community fulfill their basic needs as selfreliant workers, but not as being dependent upon their husbands. In general, the local economic and administrative structures, cultural values and principles promote equitable gender relations in division of labor and in access to educational opportunities, economic resources, leadership and decision-making at the household and community levels. This finding reveals that the existing gender relations in Awra Amba community are contrary to gender relations in other communities of Amhara Region, where the patriarchal gender ideology is most prevalent.
Key Words: Gender, gender relations, access to and control over resource, Awra Amba Community