Effectives of Individual – Economical Factors on rural women’s participation in productive cooperation (case study: ball making cooperation in Pave&Uramanat district)



Since the introduction of development to countries after the Second World War, this process has been the most significant issue, especially in developing countries. The realization of development demands exploiting the talents, capacities and active participation of people in different stages of development process, so that development and participation are considered to be interwoven and the process is succeeded when it is concurrent with the increase of people's participation, especially local people.
Concerning people's participation (PP) in participatory activities, in particular, propounding the subject of participatory approaches like PRA and RRA was the result of dissatisfaction and lack of success of rural development(RD) activities before the 1980s. During that time, the dominant thought and direction of RD was based on two essential principles: 1) emphasizing the role of ‘individuals outside the social system’ as the planners and decision-makers of the main projects and activities of RD. 2) the thought “we know and they do not know” where ‘we’ referred to the outsiders and experts and ‘they’ referred to local people, so they ignored indigenous knowledge.Considering the failure of many RD projects and programmesin the period before the 1980s, impressions, attitudes and ideas in relation to RD were changed during the subsequent three decades. The issue of ‘project ownership’ and local NGOs gained significance up to date. It was realized that rural people had to have a sense of ownership of development process to follow and achieve the desired results. Before the 1980s, existing approaches to RD paid little attention to the active role of local people in RD, especially the marginalized groups (women) in rural areas. Therefore, in this period, decision-making and allocation of resources were carried out mostly by outsider experts of RD (i.e. in the capital or in the local governmental organisations) in developing countries, and people’s involvement in making decisions on RD projects was insignificant. In addition, local people’s ideas about their needs and problems related to their environment were rarely enquired.
Based on the recent statistics released fromthe UN, 33% of Iranian women participate in the economic sector in contrast with 77 % of men's participation, of which 34% of women attend the agricultural sector versus 24% for men. The rural women as the half of human population in rural areas play significant role in social and cultural realms along with economic roles. Accordingly, it is importantto pay attention tohow can we increase their participation and involvement in development process, especially because past research efforts, so often ignored or misrepresented them.Most of the women are illiterate or less educated and often unable to attend or continue formal training courses, social or economic services. In these conditions, rural women remain inactive with less chance to develop their own abilities. As a result, this situation has caused the women to be the most vulnerable group in rural development programs.In spite of their active role in socio-economic aspects, promotion of rural women's status, having participated them in formal economic sector is of greater importance and regarded to be the necessary condition for sustainable development in developing country. To recognize the manner of women's participation in development and the influential factors,during 1970s the term “women in development”, and in the 1980s “Gender and development” were applied in resources and discourses (Ellis & Biggs, 2001). Thereafter, in most developing countries, strategies for active participation of women in development put into practice to remove or reduce existing barriers and obstacles. Yet, most planners of rural development policy believe erroneously that farmers and rural workers are mostly men.
In recent decades, social scientists focus on the importance of individual, economic and social factors that affecting women's life, directly or indirectly, to provide an environment for the promotion of their participation in rural development process. The co-ops established in rural areas are the main institutions as NGOs which could enhance rural communities' capacity through applying unique practices and approaches subsequently, attention to rural women's situation, attempt to recognize and evaluate their activities and remove the main barriers of improving their participation in different formal institutes at village level, including co-ops are the necessary steps towardssustainable rural development. The logic beyond this attempt is the necessity of using all the potential human resources toward development goals. The aim of this study is to explore some socio-economic factors affecting woman's participation in co-op from members' point of view. The paper begins with an overview of the theoretical concepts on the issue ofparticipation, especially on the case of rural women, and follows by a description of methodology ofthe study, and then findings are presented following by conclusion and recommendations.