Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Tamara Stenn


Women farmers worldwide face difficulties, unrelated to men, in their control over and access to resources and participation within farming systems. In Nicaragua, women are legally allowed to own land and participate in cooperatives, however, due to social, political, and economic factors they face barriers in their equitable access to resources and participation. Feminist political ecology theorizes that gender plays a key role and determines access to knowledge and resources, additionally, gender motivates people to social and political activism differently, which in effect shapes human-environment interactions. Can women, women’s groups, and NGO’s find ways to reduce the barriers women face through various forms of consciousness raising to help change the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of communities? This paper studies the impact of 20 years of gender equality training at a cooperative in San Ramon, Nicaragua. Here, women came together with men to challenge the norms that acted to subordinate women - reducing barriers women farmers faced and transforming their roles both in the cooperative and their households. Though land ownership allows women a certain degree of empowerment, gender equality training further grows women’s empowerment by reducing the barriers women face. This paper contributes to the academic and development community by more deeply examining the dynamic between gender equality training and the building of women’s empowerment.


Agricultural and Resource Economics | Political Theory | Women's Studies