Report: Walking the Talk: Cash Transfers and Gender Dynamics, A Report by Concern Worldwide and Oxfam GB
This report looks at the impacts of cash transfers (CTs) on gender dynamics both within households and communities. This report was commissioned because of the agencies’ concerns that while CTs, now being used in many different emergency contexts, are expected to benefit women and contribute towards their empowerment there was little evidence being collected to see whether this was in fact happening.
From the Executive Summary:
Power relations and gender roles within households and the community are culturally and geographically specific. The impact of the CTs on women depended very much on the setting. Overall, there were many positive benefits for women, including increased self esteem and confidence to handle money and an acceptance by men that women are capable of playing such a role. On the whole, intra-household relations improved as a result of the CTs targeting women and there were indications that some of these improvements may last beyond the length of the programme.
However, there were also clear challenges. Both the community implications of how the CTs were implemented and the effect of the CTs on traditional coping strategies were a significant worry for some beneficiaries. Community relations did not necessarily improve, and in some cases worsened, as a result of the programmes. The CTs also tended to reinforce rather than challenge women’s traditional household and social roles. CTs were perceived as helping women to simply perform their roles ‘better’. In this context, women are expected to carry the burden of food provision and to manage the payments responsibly, often in the face of multiple pressures and claims. Likewise male roles were imbued with negative stereotypes, which will have damaging effects on the potential for long-term changes in gender relations. Complex social dynamics, such as polygamy, was not accounted for and the distribution of food within households remained highly gendered and hierarchical.