African Journal of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development ISSN: 2141-5091 Vol. 2 (4), pp. 138-146, June, 2014. © International Scholars Journals

Full Length Research Paper

Women’s workload and role in livestock production in pastoral and agro-pastoral communities of Ethiopia: The case of Afar

Aklilu Nigussie1, Dana Hoag2 and Tigist Alemu3

1Ethiopian Institutes of Agricultural Research, Werer Agricultural Research Center in the department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Gender Research, Ethiopia.

2Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University, and East African Coordinator, Feed the Future Innovation Lab: Adapting Livestock System to Climate Change, Ethiopia.

3Gender and Development expert and Monitoring Evaluation experts with fund regulation, Ethiopia.

Accepted May, 2014


This study looked at three pastoral and agro pastoral communities of Afar, Ethiopia. By surveying women and men in households that were headed by women (WHH) and that were headed by men (MHH), we were able to go beyond simply how labor is allocated between genders.  Women do close to 100% of the household chores, but men share more of these in MHHs.  MHHs appear to have advantages from more labor.  Women in these households spend half as much time fetching wood and water and more time on rearing livestock than women in WHHs.  Women in WHHs are less educated, but take more advantage of technical trainings and involvement in associations.   The result of the multiple regression analysis showed that male labor was the most important factor influencing output. Labor from women  was  found  to  be  used  less efficiently in both households, implying  that  the  spare  time gained by women in MHHs was productive but still less so than men.  Perhaps the most important findings here is that households without men are more likely to be limited to a subsistence lifestyle, and that one important reason is the time it takes for simple tasks such as fetching wood and water.

Key words: Labor, livestock, elasticity, household, gender, pastoralist.