A wide range of development actors play a major role in initiating, supporting, and promoting collective action of various forms, which aims to secure economic and wider benefits to women, through improving their engagement in markets. But there is limited understanding of what works for rural women in terms of their participation in collective action, and the ‘empowerment’ benefits to be gained from it. Gendered power dynamics in mixed-sex organisations seeking to improve livelihoods through collective action often lead to different and unequal outcomes for women. Women’s motives for collective action often differ from men’s, and they bring different skills and qualities to it. This article draws on research in Ethiopia, Mali, and Tanzania, to assess recent experiences of development interventions supporting women’s collective action in agricultural markets.
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