Added Title

Collective action in cooperatives: A case of women’s saving and credit cooperatives in Nepal

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Development Studies

Subject Categories

Development Studies


College of Liberal Arts


Political Science

Thesis Advisor

Sherwin Ona

Defense Panel Chair

Christianne France Collantes

Defense Panel Member

Ma Divina Gracia Z. Roldan
Francisco Magno
Maria Milagros Lomotan
Ador Torneo


The prevailing gender inequality poses a massive threat to the well-being and empowerment of women -an old foe in Nepal's development. Despite the government's and various organizations' effort, women remain marginalized and suffer from the discrepancies of a patriarchal community. However, Nepalese women's savings and credit cooperatives represent a decisive collective action toward achieving economic empowerment and have significantly impacted women's lives in the community. Despite this inspiring phenomenon emerging in the last two decades, literature on women cooperatives and their institutional network concerning economic empowerment are limited in the Nepalese context. Thus, it needs to be appropriately documented to assess its significance towards women’s empowerment in the country. The study aims to thoroughly understand women’s cooperatives, which includes their existence as entities as well as the prevailing rules, norms, and external factors that cater to their decision-making processes and their access to funding. Moreover, shedding light on the positive impact of these cooperatives on women’s economic empowerment is crucial, notwithstanding the persistent gender inequality in the country.

Ostrom's Institutional Analysis and Development Framework (IAD) was used as a theoretical framework for the study. This study explored women's cooperatives to economically empower women, internal and external actors supporting the common goal of these women's cooperatives. The study focuses on the variables, namely rules, norms, and interactions among the actors/stakeholders. Ostrom believed in effective collective action among small groups than larger groups and communities. Due to the pandemic, the research was limited to assessing only four women's savings and credit cooperatives located in Kathmandu Valley and its outskirts, using a case study method. FGDs and KIIs were conducted, and secondary data were collected for this study. The research found that the IAD framework is applicable to women's savings and credit cooperatives. The rules and norms are present that influence access to funds and decision-making process. The interactions among actors are linear and reciprocal, which makes it effective in economically empowering women in a patriarchal community. The research determined trust and culture as the core foundation of women's cooperatives. In which case, the remarkable level of trust and the culture that was developed by women members greatly influenced their interactions and decision-making processes. Thus, it proves the hypothesis of the study that formal rules serve as catalysts to informal rules in women’s savings and credit cooperatives. The potential of women's cooperative governance as a means of adaptive governance and resilience in the local context is an interesting avenue for future research. Furthermore, cooperatives are regarded as a national pillar of economic growth in Nepal, and women’s savings and credit cooperatives play a vital role in the trajectory to empowering women in a patriarchal community.

Key words: savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs), Common pool resource (CPR), Institutional analysis and development framework (IAD), Guthi, Parma, Dhukuti

Abstract Format






Physical Description

308 leaves


Savings and loan associations--Nepal; Banks and banking, Cooperative--Nepal; Women in cooperative societies--Nepal

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Available for download on Thursday, August 08, 2024