Women Entrepreneurs' Participation and Poverty Reduction in Bauchi State, Nigeria
Asen, Simeon Ahemba
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Poverty has been identified as a global problem and reducing it both at the global level as well as the national levels of different countries including Nigeria has been made a priority. Poverty is known to affect more women than men due to disparities in education, employment and economic opportunities among others. Women have played important roles in poverty reduction in the United States of America, United Kingdom, India and Kenya among other countries. However, the contribution of women in Northern Nigeria and Bauchi state in particular to the economic development of the State and poverty reduction are not acknowledged by their male counterpart due to religious and cultural beliefs. This study is aimed at identifying the role of women entrepreneurs' participation in poverty reduction in Bauchi State which is one of the poorest States in Nigeria with the poverty rate of sixty-five per cent. The specific objectives of the study were: to establish the effect of employment creation by women entrepreneurs on poverty reduction in Bauchi State, Nigeria; examine the effect of income generation on poverty in Bauchi State, Nigeria; find out the effect of food supply on poverty reduction in Bauchi state, and establish the moderating effect of environmental factors on women entrepreneurs' participation on poverty reduction in Bauchi State, Nigeria. The study adopted positivism research philosophy Descriptive and explanatory research designs were used to carry it out. The target population was 1,500 women entrepreneurs in Bauchi State, Nigeria who are registered with development Exchange Centre. Stratified sampling method was used to select a sample population of 306 respondents. Five strata were identified according to the economic activities of women entrepreneurs in Bauchi State. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire and analysed using descriptive and linear multiple regression models. The study found the effect of women entrepreneurs' participation in employment creation, income generation as well as food supply and poverty reduction to be positive. The environmental factors (sociocultural and economic factors) were found to be positive moderating effect on women entrepreneurs' efforts to reduce poverty. This study therefore, recommended that the relevance stakeholders take advantage of the potentials of women entrepreneurs to create more employment. Furthermore, funds should be set aside by the Bauchi State government to help women entrepreneurs grow their businesses in order to employ more people; the contribution of women in the area of income generation be factored in the income estimates of the Bauchi State Government; information on better ways of supplying food be provided for women by the Bauchi State Government, Development Exchange Centre and other stake holders also Muslim leaders encourage Muslim women entrepreneur to participate more in business activities in order to reduce poverty in their families. Finally, financial institutions should provide loans to women entrepreneurs at low interest rates to help them participate more in business activities.