Document Type : Research Paper

Authors

1 PhD Student, Department of Economics, Extension and Agricultural Education, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

2 2. Professor, Department of Agricultural Extension and Education, Ilam Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ilam, Iran

3 Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Agricultural Extension and Education, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran,

Abstract

Introduction: The empowerment has been known as controlling decision making about his or her life and ability for interventions in all their life challenges (Baig et al., 2018). Women empowerment can improve sustainability in development fields (Akhter & Cheng, 2020). Empowerment conception not only comprises extrinsic control but it also is included the development of intrinsic capabilities (Abrar-ul-Haq, Jali, & Islam, 2018). It has been reported that the development of the empowerment in women is a pivotal actors for improving productivity and food security in rural areas (Sharaunga, Mudhara, & Bogale, 2016).Food security is the measure of the availability of food and individuals' ability to access it. According to the United Nations' Committee on World Food Security, food security is defined as meaning that all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life. Female-headed households who live in rural areas are faced with serious challenges in their life, because they should manage their life and supply their life costs. In Iran, some supporting institutions support female-headed households but their pensions are not sufficient to manage their life. It was recently reported that 32% of Iranian families are living in food insecurity (Pakravan-Charvadeh et al., 2020).Thus, this study was conducted to investigate the effects of job empowerment on food security of rural female-headed households under supervision of the Welfare Organization.

Methods: Statistical population of the current study included 495 women based on the data collected from Statistical Center of Iran and 216 women were selected with the help of Cochran’s formula. Tehran province was divided into ten rural districts and each district was considered as a classification. A self-designed questionnaire consisting from 11 variables were used for job empowerment of women comprising grouping work and communication skills (n= 7 items), creativity and solving problem (n= 6 items), commitment and responsibility (n= 6 items), information and specific knowledge (n= 5 items) and technical skills and operational work (n= 5 items). A five-point Likert scale was considered for each variable ranging from 1 (very low) to 5 (very high). A standard questionnaire comprising accessibility (n= 6 items), availability (n= 6 items), utilization (n= 7 items) and stability (n= 4 items) was used for food security construct. A six-point Likert scale was considered for each variable ranging from 0 (any) to 5 (very high). The data were also collected for age, education, job, family size, and annual income. To investigate the effects of constructs of job empowerment on food security, structural equation modeling (SEM) was used.

Findings: The results showed that the age mean of the women-headed households in rural areas was 48.28 with standard deviation of 11.55 years. Mean and standard deviation for constructs were as follows; grouping work and communication skills (2.77 ± 0.88), creativity and solving problem (3.01 ± 0.90), commitment and responsibility (3.26 ± 1.02), information and specific knowledge (2.94 ± 0.94), technical skills and operational work (3.22 ± 1.00), access (2.23 ± 0.84), availability (2.42 ± 0.80), utilization (2.69 ± 1.10) and stability (2.57 ± 0.74). The results for model-fitting showed that job empowerment and food security had a good fit for the data with fit indices (χ2/df=1.85, CFI=0.92; NFI= 0.96; RMSEA=0.032). The results show that indices are appropriate and the model has a good fit. The results showed that job empowerment could determine 57.50% of food security variance.

Conclusion: In conclusion, this study showed that factors of grouping work and communication skills, creativity and solving problem, commitment and responsibility and information and specific knowledge had significant effects on job empowerment of female-headed households in rural areas of Iran country. With regards to the effects of the factors on empowerment, policy makers must consider policies for improving job empowerment. To improve food security and job empowerment in rural region, we suggest establishing centers by supporting institutions for education of skills and also identification of creative women for improving their abilities. We also suggest education of new information and knowledge by media and other organizations for improving job empowerment. We also suggest education of technical skills for prevention of injures and improving abilities in female-headed households in rural areas. In sum, it is recommended to consider the job empowerment for improving food security for improving food security of rural female-headed households under supervision of the Welfare Organization.

Keywords: empowerment, household heads, rural women, food security

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