The Discursive Construction of Gender Identities and Roles for Women in Cash Transfer Programmes: Implications for Gender Power Relations

Dennis Puorideme, Lise Rolandsen Agustín

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

2 Citationer (Scopus)


Cash transfer (CT) programmes in Global South countries do not only provide cash grants to extremely poor households to smoothen consumption and improve human capital development, but they also promote collective action, strengthen relation-building and social transformation. Ghana’s Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) is one of many such programmes with considerable success in providing cash to extremely poor households, mostly with women as caregivers, but there are also some concerns worth highlighting. The questions are: first, how does Ghana’s LEAP CT programme perpetuate or transform gender power relations? Second, how do women caregivers exercise agency within the intersecting relations of the programme in the cultural context? Gender, power, and discourse are the theoretical underpinnings of the article with an ethnographic-discourse strategy inspired by a dialectical-relational approach to critical discourse analysis. The discursive analysis of the practices of the LEAP CT programme officials and the women caregivers demonstrate that the LEAP CT programme, at the institutional level, discursively reproduces and naturalises gender identities, roles and subject positions for women despite prioritizing women as the recipients of the cash. However, it also reveals nuances of women agency evident at the intersecting and participatory practices of women caregivers in the programme and in the socio-political contexts of the local communities. Whilst the first finding affects women negatively, the second presents a potential for transforming gender power relations in institutions and local communities in Global South countries as it challenges the taken-for-granted notions of gender relations for a better world. The study contributes to an improved situated understanding of unequal and pervasive gender power relations in Global South countries’ social protection interventions.
TidsskriftWorld Development Perspectives
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2023


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