In reported higher levels of agency than independent

In their article, Exploring Links Between Women’s Business Ownership and
Empowerment Among Maasai Women in Tanzania, Anjali Dutt, Shelly Grabe, and Marina
Castro (2016, p.363), seek to define a relationship between women business
owners and improved wellbeing. They hypothesized (2016), “women who own a business, either
cooperative or independent, would report lower levels of partner control, and
greater levels of agency and financial decision making than non-owners” (p.370).
The article opens by giving an understanding of the oppression women face on a
global scale. According to the authors, women lack formal education, make up
2/3 of the world’s illiterate, and constitute the majority of the world’s
working poor (2016, p.364). Further oppression of women is reported in the worldwide
occurrence of IPV abuse ranging from 35-70% (Dutt, 2016, p.364). This article
provides insight to the relationship between women’s involvement in the
marketplace and various factors to determine the possibility of empowerment
that would enhance women’s psychological and physical wellbeing (Dutt, 2016, p.370).

            The
study was based upon three groups of Massai women from 4 villages in rural,
northern Tanzania (Dutt, 2016, p.371). The women were randomly selected from a
list, with 79 women participants classified as co-op business owners, 79 as
independent business owners, and 66 as non-owners (Dutt, 2016, p.371).  The study was conducted using surveys
administered by properly trained Massai women, who were not from the villages
where the data were collected (Dutt, 2016, p.372).  The variables being assessed among the
three groups in the study were business ownership, levels of partner control,
individual agency, financial decision making, receipt of violence, self-esteem,
and depression (Dutt, 2016, p.373-375). An extraneous variable of whether or not
the participants owned land affected the results and was thus accounted for in
the data analysis (Dutt, 2016, p.376).

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             The results determined that cooperative
business owners reported higher levels of agency than independent owners, lower
levels of partner control, and higher levels of financial decision-making than
non-owners; reporting that they were less likely to be required to give their
income to their husbands (Dutt, 2016, p.377). This led researchers to conclude, that given the
opportunity for women to take part in a cooperative run business with other
women, partner control by husbands could decrease, improving women’s well-being,
and predicting lower levels of depression and less domestic violence (Dutt
2016, p.377). In this regard, the research supported the stated hypothesis,
however, it is also worth noting that women
who were independent business owners scored the lowest in categories such as
financial decision making (Dutt, 2016, p.380).

            The authors reached a reasonable
conclusion with this strong study, however, it is fair to raise certain
questions about the accuracy of the findings as
the question can be raised of whether or not husbands exerting less partner
control to begin with would be more willing to allow their wives to participate
in a cooperative business ownership in the first place, thus skewing these
results (Dutt, 2016, p.379).

            Ultimately,
this is a well-written journal article, which gives insight into great
possibilities for women on a global scale. With further research and a future
implementation it is hopeful, even possible, that women living in oppressive
states and facing various levels of oppression and vulnerability, will be
empowered to have a voice and make decisions thus altering the future outcome
of their own well-being and that of their daughters.

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