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Empowerment through social capital build-up: gender dimensions in technology uptake

Bantilan, M.C.S., Padmaja, R.
Experimental agriculture 2008 v.44 no.1 pp. 61-80
villages, social partnerships, innovation adoption, women, men, social facilitation, community development, India
This paper explores how and to what extent women and men have benefited from social capital build-up (the ability of men and women farmers to develop and use various kinds of social networks and the resources that thereby become available) in technology uptake, and the role of women in this process. Using a series of three case studies on ICRISAT's Groundnut Production Technology, the process of technology uptake leading to empowerment is systematically documented through three stages of the adoption pathway. The process stimulating gender-equitable change and empowerment was examined through a sequential analysis using two in-depth case studies in three villages in Maharashtra, India, and complemented by a broader quantitative study of the uptake process covering villages in surrounding districts. This analysis illustrated that social capital is important for both adoption and impact to occur. Qualitative information complemented by quantitative measures provides a holistic understanding of the long-term effects and benefits. The findings illustrated that build-up of social capital improves access to resources like credit, information and knowledge about new technology options and practices. Furthermore, it expands choices available to each household member -- e.g. selecting and adopting seed technology of their choice, and alternative investment options -- and influences the distribution of benefits from the technology because of the ways in which social networks and social relationships facilitate technology dissemination. Mobilizing social capital through participation of men and women in groups/networks that crossed caste, class and gender barriers mediated the successful adoption and diffusion of technology.