Gender and social capital for agricultural development

Ruth Meinzen-Dick*, Julia Andrea Behrman, Lauren Pandolfelli, Amber Peterman, Agnes R. Quisumbing

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

23 Scopus citations


Social capital comprises the range of relationships, networks, and institutions that allow people to build trust and cooperation. This chapter documents gender differences in social capital related to agricultural development, defined as group membership and social networks, based on a critical literature review of key issues and a review of published and unpublished empirical studies conducted between 1999 and 2011. The authors focus on the types of groups and social networks that women and men join, the extent of their participation, as well as the gender-specific barriers that may affect women's full-scale participation. The analysis goes beyond simple dichotomies of men's and women's groups and networks to investigate whether, and under what circumstances, mixed-sex groups may be more effective than single-sex groups in achieving their development objectives. Following this, the authors examine the effects of women's participation on both group performance and extant gender relations and discuss what development actors can do to help realize gains in these areas. The chapter concludes with a summary of the evidence on whether women are disadvantaged in comparison to men in the accumulation of social capital, and if so, the extent to which programs are helping to overcome this gap.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGender in Agriculture
Subtitle of host publicationClosing the Knowledge Gap
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages32
ISBN (Electronic)9789401786164
ISBN (Print)9789401786157
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Collective action
  • Gender
  • Groups membership
  • Social capital
  • Social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


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