Co-operative Societies and Women Empowerment: a Study of Aguata Local Government Area, Anambra State



This study focused on co-operative societies and women empowerment. The objectives of this study were to find out types of co-operative societies in Aguata Local Government and to assess the role of women in the co-operative societies. The methodology adopted for collecting data in the work were through primary data such as structured questionnaires while that of the secondary data. The data collected were presented using tables and simple percentages. It was found out that rural women can have access to financial aid in the co-operative development and that in varying degrees, women especially rural women constitute socially, economically and politically disadvantaged group when compared to their male counter parts. I recommend that, there should be formation of co-operative societies in every local government  since it is targeted at correcting the imbalance. And again, local government wives, chairman and their wives should also assist in the financial aid of the co-operative societies.



1.1     Background to the study

          History has shown that development can occur only when member that constitutes the society participates in its development. Hence development should be seen as a collective responsibility of all the people who make-up the society irrespective of sex, age and class. The colonial administration gave little recognition to the socio-economic status of women because women’s role in economic development were related to kitchen and catering for the needs of their children and household, while empowerment and made were for men.

          Today Nigerian women have gone beyond the stage of merely agitating  for liberation or equal rights with her male counter part. The nation’s current constitution (1999) as amended, accepts the obligation to accord women the same treatment as is accorded to men in all spheres of life section 17 (2), particularly in all areas covered by constitution. Women today contribute over 80% of the nation’s food supply.

          Though women contribute over 80% of the nation’s food supply, their economic power is still limited. They have limited access to ownership of land and housing, limited participation in nation building. The role of women in economic empowerment is determined by the society and also by the societal perception of the status and place of women and the extent of their participation in economic development of their family and the society in general.

          With the recognition of women as vital instruments for economic empowerment and realization of the vital role of women in the fields of agriculture, health and commerce, education, the need to properly organize, equip and harness the potentials of women towards national development remained increasingly imperative and significant.

          One cannot therefore, over emphasis the important role which co-operative movement can play in Nigeria, especially in this era of food shortage and economic depression. It is certain that the co-operative society plays in increasingly significant role in satisfying material, social  and potential needs of their rural and urban women in Nigeria. It was as a result of this that the Federal Republic of Nigeria in her third National development plan (1975 -1980) had a policy objectives of casting the growth of co-operative movement as instrument for achieving increase in agricultural productivity and rural  to ensure women participation  in development.

          Co-operative societies are organized groups, which are created to accomplish one or more functions including production purchasing, supplying and the provision of credit facilities to it’s members.

          Inspite of the government emphasis on the need for Nigerians to form co-operative societies in order t0 achieve self-sufficiency in food production especially during this period of depressed economy, we are yet to experience the women’s full participation in co-operative societies.

          Ijere (1981), estimated that out of a population of 80 million, only 2.4% of Nigerian women participate in co-operative. It is against this backdrop that this study investigates the role of co-operative society in economic empowerment of work and the problems militating against the full participation of women in co-operative society with a view of making recommendations.

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1.2     Statement of the problem

          It has been universally accepted that no nation can achieve full economic power and sustainable growth if she leaves women out of the development process. It is quite imperative for developing nations to consider both sustainable human development and economic growth  as a function of investment in girls and women as resources or engines of growth or social engineering. However in Nigeria, we find that to varying degrees, women especially rural women constitutes socially, economically and politically disadvantage group when compared to their male counter parts; they have limited access to ownership of land and housing, limited participation in nation building. Women’s role in economic empowerment was relegated to kitchen and catering for the needs of their children and husbands, while empowerment and trade were for men.

    1. Objectives of the study

The objectives of this study are as follows:

  1. To find out types of co-operative societies in Aguata Local Government Area.
  2. To access the role of women in the co-operative societies.
  3. To verify the economic benefits derived by women form the co-operative societies.
  4. To identify the problems that confront women’s participation in co-operative society.
  5. To make recommendations based on the findings of the study.

1.4     Scope of the study

          This study is based on the co-operative societies in empowering women. The study is also confined to co-operative societies in Aguata Local Government Area. It was carried out between 2010 to 2014.

1.5     Research Questions

i.       What are the types of co-operative societies in Aguata Local Government Area?

ii.      What economic benefits do women derive from these societies?

iii      Do women play any role in co-operative societies?

iv.     What problems hinder women’s participation in co-operative societies?


1.6     Significance of the study


          The value of any research depends on its contribution  to knowledge and development. the study is  important especially now that the present democratic government has placed great emphasis on the mobilization of women for rural and national Development.

          This study will  enable the tiers of government especially the local government to work out and implement realistic measures to motivate women so that they can participate in co-operative societies which will enable them embark on some economic ventures.

          The study also highlights the activities of co-operative societies; The problems confronting co-operative societies in Nigeria and this will be of benefit to members.


    1. Limitations of the study

Attitudes of some officers:

  1. Lack of coming to office
  2. Lack of commitment to work.

FINANCE: The researcher was faced with lack of funds to allowed her to about getting enough information to carryout the project work of the local government.

TIME FACTOR: Due to time factor the researcher could not be able to fulfill the objectives more accurately as a visit to some co-operative  societies.

1. 8    Definition of terms

          The definition of the underlisted  terms is as used in the context:

CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY: This is an association of persons who have voluntarily joined together and have their primary objective in the promotion of members’ socio-economic well-being through members of the society in line with agreed principles.

EMPOWERMENT: This is defined as the granting of political, social or economic power to an individual or group.

 ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT; This is a process by which groups, communities with low per capital income may increase their production of goods and services to raise their standard of living.