Can Dairy Value-Chain Projects Change Gender Norms in Rural Bangladesh? Impacts on Assets, Gender Norms, and Time Use

Using both quantitative and qualitative research methods, the Gender, Agriculture, and Assets Project (GAAP) worked with CARE-Bangladesh to assess the impact of the Strengthening the Dairy Value Chain Project (SDVCP) on (1) women’s ownership of assets, men’s ownership of assets, and jointly held assets; (2) gender norms around asset ownership and control; (3) gender norms regarding decisionmaking in these areas surrounding the dairy value chain; and (4) trade-offs and time costs involved in project participation.

We find that participation in SDVCP had significant positive impacts on the composition of household assets. SDVCP participants increased the value of livestock assets, as well as the value of agricultural and nonagricultural productive assets, relative to nonparticipant households that were similar prior to the program. While participation in the program increased the value of men’s assets, it also increased the value of assets held jointly by men and women. This finding suggests that women were able to build up assets, not by acquiring assets that they exclusively owned, but by acquiring jointly owned assets.
We also find that program participation tended not to affect who makes dairy-related decisions. Regardless of SDVCP participation, dairy-related decisions involving financial outlays or inflows were made by husbands, while those about allocation of milk not for sale were made by wives.