Barriers of Women in Acquiring Leadership Positions in Agricultural Cooperatives: The Case of Cambodia

Sovanneary Huot, Leif Jensen, Ricky Bates, David Ader

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1 Scopus citations


Gender inequality in agriculture remains a global concern. Cambodia is marked by a lack of women representatives in leadership and decision-making positions at every level, a problem that is clearly seen in agriculture. Previous research suggests a need to focus on financial and time constraints for women in acquiring leadership positions. Therefore, we study the barriers that women face in acquiring and continuing in leadership roles within two farmer cooperatives in Battambang and Siem Reap Provinces, Cambodia. Qualitative data were gathered through key informant interviews and focus group discussions with smallholder farmers. We find that women in these two cooperatives do have leadership opportunities, and some do acquire leadership roles. However, they face challenges in this regard. Obstacles include domestic work burden that limits time for activities off the farm, low education that inhibits capacity and the confidence to serve as leaders, and lack of proper compensation for leadership positions. If government agencies, policymakers, donors, NGOs, and others want women to play a greater leadership role, they need to reduce the interrelated constraints of time poverty, lack of capacity, and insufficient compensation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)708-730
Number of pages23
JournalRural Sociology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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