Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

John Tait

Second Advisor

Betty Wells


This study involves a comparative analysis of women's roles in agricultural production and decision making in the household in five villages of the semi-arid tropics. Two villages in south India and three villages in northern Cameroon are studied;To understand the subject, a research background is given. This background includes a brief review of works on women in agriculture in general and specific relevant concepts, such as: self-identity, role and status, family and household, task allocation and decision making, and agriculture and market conditions;Functional theory, symbolic interaction, the conflict perspective, exchange theory, and role theory are examined and synthesized as pertains to the problem to be studied;First, hypotheses involving individual characteristics (income, age, and education) and participation in task performance are examined. Second, the relationships of individual characteristics and decision making are considered. Third, the effects of task performance on decision making are studied. Descriptive techniques and regression equations are used to test the hypotheses. Orthogonal contrasts are used to make intra-village and inter-village comparisons of women's farm activities, literacy, age and various areas of decision making. Cross-cultural comparisons of women's tasks, women's literacy, women's age and women's decisions are also made between South India and Northern Cameroon;The results indicate that women spend more time than men in activities and agricultural tasks. Though the effects of women's characteristics (income, age, education) on decision making vary from village to village, they are not significant. The amount of farm tasks performed by women do not affect the important agricultural decisions. Recommendations are given to improve women's conditions in agricultural production.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Astair Gebremariam Mengesha



Proquest ID


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File Size

170 pages