The Impact of Cooperative Society in Empowerment of Rural Women


The literature review in this research work will be approached in the following perspective:

  1. The concept of cooperative
  2. Women in the cooperative


Cooperatives have been defined in diverse ways by various people and writers for different purpose. How ever some of these definitions in this thesis. The oxford advance learners dictionary (2002) defined cooperatives as a group of persons acting working together with another or either for a common purpose.

According to Mr. Tongyi (1999) Kaduna Polytechnic a lecturer in the department of social development and cooperatives studies defined cooperative as an association of persons and usually of limited means who voluntarily have joined together to achieve a common economic end through formation of a democratically controlled business organization such persons as associates make equitable contribution to the capital required and accept fair share of benefits and risks of their undertaking.


Also a hand book of MANSER (1973) define cooperative as an association of persons who have voluntarily joined together to achieve a common end through the formation  of a democratically  controlled organization, making equitable contribution to the capital required and accepting a fair share of the risks and benefits of the members undertaking in which members actively participate. Informative types of cooperative are as old as the primitive man. Anywhere people voluntarily come together with the sole aim of achieving a collective economic goal, they actually form a simple cooperative society. Modern cooperative society have its root in England during the industrial revolution era where machines where been replaced with manual labour (human labour).

Also Read: The need for Cooperative Education in Nigeria

The first cooperative societies were organized by working men who  were seeking to change the hard situation which emerged through the factory production which began in England about two hundred (200) years ago, which was later adopted by other countries of the world today.


The success of the early cooperative societies attracted the full attention of Nigeria government. The government decided to consolidate the ground earlier gain. In respect of this, a cooperative expert Mr. C.F. Strict land was appointed to tour the country and also to achieve on the prospects of developing cooperative in the country. In an attempt to form a definite cooperative policy, the essential futures of cooperatives society and guided by his Indian experience Mr. C.F. Strictland, purposed that cooperative objectives in Nigeria were to be as comprehensive flexible and possible. He drafted the cooperative ordinance, which was passed in to law on 3rd December 1935.


A registrar was also appointed and assisted by a senior civil servant to re-organize the societies in accordance with provision of the ordinance. An out famous cooperative department was in the International Labour Organization (I.L.O), 1977 and also sees the definition of cooperatives as defined above by MANSER that is, cooperative is an association of persons usually of limited means, who have voluntarily joined together to achieved a common  economic and through the formation of a democratically organization, making a equitable contribution to the capital required and accepting a fair share of all from the definitions given above by the writers can identify at least five element that determine the structure of cooperative form of organization they are:

  1. The organization is democratically administered
  2. The main objectives of the group is to perform service for the promotion of the economic situation of the members of the group
  3. The group of persons has at least one economic interest in common
  4. The mechanicalism to achieve the groups objective to established a common enterprise on the basis of this features, many organizations that are Muslims cooperatives societies in Nigeria are not in the real sense of the world. This is because the organization do not have or possess the real attributed of cooperatives despite the fact such societies by the government, main objective of members is to share the facilities that may be allocated to the societies by the government. The motive of self reliance is totally absent in these organizations.

According to the Internationally Cooperative Alliance (I.C.A), 1995. Cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspiration through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise. This definition gives the most relevant characteristics to get a new cooperative namely:

  1. An autonomous body is free government or external control and domination
  2. It is an association of persons and not capital that is interest of the members must come before that of capital
  3. The benefit must be shared equitable
  4. The means of achieving this objective is a business enterprise with a sit-up that is economic element
  5. The objectives of the group is to meet members needs in the field of economic social and cultural aspiration
  6. The enterprise is jointly owned, cooperative begins with common ownership
  7. Having acquired a new awareness through cooperatives education, membership is voluntarily
  8. The enterprise must be democratically controlled irrespective of financial consideration

According to Ireyora L. Ihimodu (1988) he said that many governments has encourage the formation of cooperative societies in their respective countries. They had addition continued to assist them with all kinds of facilities to the extent of not allowing them to indicate the self-help motive. According to Mallam Yahaya  Ibrahim (1990) cooperative was not only meant  to serve the economic interest of their member, but are more importantly meant to serve as a training ground where members learn to work with others to practice democratically and acquire individual proficiency and skills which they can direct to the common good.


Cooperatives societies should serve as a training ground for members, and not far their economic interest alone. Members are suppose to learn how to work together to improve their skill. A great number of cooperative societies have collapsed in different parts of the country because they lack cooperative education.


Mr. J.N.P. (1983) stated that “in the early 19th century when the pre-Rochdale cooperative societies were formed they all collapsed for various reasons which include lack of cooperative education. In view of this fact, the Rochdale equitable pioneers decided to pay greater attention to what rules of life, which in course of time matured into an acceptable principle of cooperation all over the world. The Rochdale set out a sum of money for giving cooperative education to their member committees, officers and even their employees.


According to states men (1990), in many countries, the growing influence of cooperatives had been low. But in most developed countries especially V.S.S.R. and Britain the reverse is the case, the states men said that “ as practice has shown that cooperative in many countries is an important  instrument that helps the government in attaining its goals in the share of a grayish reforms in production, ensuring supplies of commodities in the accomplishment of cultural transformation.


Paul Looy (1926) stated that Adlaie Stevenson former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations ones said that “cooperatives stand today as the zealous guardians of genuine economic freedom and individual enterprises, so essential in truly democratic society.

According to Mr. Enyeribe Onuoha (1986) “ cooperatives education in absolute is absolutely essential for the success of the cooperative movement anywhere. A cooperative cannot rise above the level of understanding of its members, if cooperative education is taking in all its breath to include members education, staff-training and public relation, it can be life blood of cooperation. Its objective is three-fold to produce enlightened and responsible members, efficient  staff and a favourable public opinion.


Frauz Helen (1985) analyses the motives voluntarily membership that it may include an individual to join a cooperative as being either economic rational or sociological emotional



Most of the literature review written about cooperative organization was framed on general forms of cooperation, no isolation of women in cooperative organization. This made it difficult to lay hand on nay book written on women cooperative movement from where a comprehensive movement from where a comprehensive movement literature review may be obtained and the few books written were about African women in general or international. Women are half world population. They comprises one third of the third of the world’s working hours, for this they earned on tenth of the world’s income but they owned only one percent of the world property (U.Ns. mid decade conference in higher Compeningen Demark).


However, professor T.O. Adekenye has made am extensive research an women in his report about women in the development of agricultural cooperatives in Nigeria and he wrote as follows:

  1. They did most things together
  2. Even though there were division base on sex and age group, there was respect for each other and these individuals were treated equally
  3. Historically and traditionally many societies in Africa lived communally


Daniel K. Adedzwa (1988) mobilization of women for rural development said that “ women constitution the bulk of the cheap labor  force and are largely responsible for subsistent agricultural production  in the rural areas.” They often labour from down till dust on weeding, harvesting, during storage of grain and food processing. They are responsible for fetching water and fine wood for fuel, feeding their families. Above all they are mothers and transmitters of community tradition. The performance of African women I general as regard to the development of agriculture will be clearly seen as shown in the table below:


House work 95% 5%
Manual work 70% 30%
Harvesting 60% 40%
Tending domestic animals 50% 50%
Sowing and planting plugging 30% 70%


From (U.N. hand book on women in Africa 1975). Journal, (1984) “women in development, said for women to become a vital force in their societies, change will have to be based on a new theory of development which embraces feminism. Except there is a better understanding of how both patriarchy and economic system propagate oppression not effective and inclusive work on bringing about a new order can be done. If a greater development is to be achieved then the role of women should be seen as great and upheld by men. There should be the acceptance by there should be a trademark spirit.

According to the international council for rural women (1981), women reproductive and home production roles are the target for programme intervention, on the assumption that the prevailing sexual division for labour in the third world makes it more efficient to allocate development investment to women in the house makers”. Chief Biola Dosomo strengthens the role of Nigeria women on agriculture and rural development.


A paper presentation at the national worship (1986) said that for the down of history, women has always been man’s counter part. Her role is not that of a rival but of a councilor and a comforter. In thee rural areas women employ their husbands and men folk in the fields. Their duties are not just terminated in the kitchen. When the environment was beautiful, women gather fire woods for sale to argument their husband’s modest income. In addition, they helped in harvest periods and subsequently sold form products in their neighbor ring market.


It is an obviously fact therefore that since the begging of time, women have been at greater importance to development. They do not work just for enjoyment but masterful or dedication. Become, a director general of F.A.O. in the African training and research for women economic commission for Africa (United Nation 1970); observed that the importance of encouraging women participation so as to increase the economic of the nation been a developing country. He said that it is very important t observe that most of the problems we have being facing for years would no become serious as they have, if in tackling then we had concerned ourselves more with the women if the developing world.

It is because of the strong influence the women have their daily activities. Women are particularly effective in bringing about change in the nation as a whole. Therefore, the realization of the importance of women cooperative movement, winch is widely accepted as the most rural oriented socio-economic development in the country today.

According to professor J.Y. Yayak (1990) reported in the democratic that: “women has contributed towards agricultural development, through involvement in crop production harvesting, processing, storage  and marketing as well as running may self-reliance cottage enterprise such as dying, knitting and livestock.

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