Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-65d66dc8c9-d62fh Total loading time: 0.647 Render date: 2021-09-29T02:10:02.190Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

Do Conditional Cash Transfers Empower Women? Insights from Brazil’s Bolsa Família

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 March 2020

Natasha Borges Sugiyama*
Affiliation:
Natasha Borges Sugiyama is an associate professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Wendy Hunter*
Affiliation:
Wendy Hunter is a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin.

Abstract

Conditional cash transfer programs (CCTs) have emerged as an important social welfare innovation across the Global South in the last two decades. That poor mothers are typically the primary recipients of the grants renders easy, but not necessarily correct, the notion that CCTs empower women. This article assesses the relationship between the world’s largest CCT, Brazil’s Bolsa Família, and women’s empowerment. To systematize and interpret existing research, including our own, it puts forth a three-part framework that examines the program’s effects on economic independence, physical health, and psychosocial well-being. Findings suggest that women experience some improved status along all three dimensions, but that improvements are far from universal. A core conclusion is that the broader institutional context in which the Bolsa Família is embedded—that is, ancillary services in health and social assistance—is crucial for conditioning the degree of empowerment obtained.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© University of Miami 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

Conflict of interest: Natasha Borges Sugiyama and Wendy Hunter declare none.

References

Ahmed, Saifuddin, Li, Qinfeng, Liu, Li, and Amy, O Tsui. 2012. Maternal Deaths Averted by Contraceptive Use: An Analysis of 172 Countries. Lancet 380: 111–25.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Alves, Flávia Jôse Oliveira, Machado, Daiane Borges, and Mauricio, L. Barreto. 2019. Effect of the Brazilian Cash Transfer Programme on Suicide Rates: A Longitudinal Analysis of the Brazilian Municipalities. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 54, 5: 599606.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ambler, Kate, and de Brauw, Alan. 2017. The Impacts of Cash Transfers on Women’s Empowerment: Learning from Pakistan’s BISP Program. Social Protection and Labor Discussion paper no. 1702. Washington, DC: World Bank Group.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Arnold, Catherine, Conway, Tim, and Greenslade, Matthew. 2011. Cash Transfers: A Literature Review. Department for International Development Policy Division Paper. London: UKAID, DFID. http://www.cashlearning.org/downloads/cash-transfers-litera-ture-review.pdfGoogle Scholar
Banerjee, Abhijit V., and Duflo, Esther. 2011. Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty. New York: PublicAffairs.Google Scholar
Barrientos, Armando, Debowicz, Darío, and Woolard, Ingrid. 2016. Heterogeneity in Bolsa Família Outcomes. Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance 62: 3340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bartholo, Leticia, Passos, Luana, and Fontoura, Natália. 2017. Bolsa Família, autonomia feminina e equidade de gênero: o que indicam as pesquisas nacionais? Discussion paper 2331. Rio de Janeiro: IPEA.Google Scholar
Bispo, Ana Claudia Souza da Silva. 2009. Nurse, Programa Saúde da Família. Author interview. Pau Brasil, June 25.Google Scholar
Bradshaw, Sarah, Chant, Sylvia, and Linneker, Brian. 2019. Gender, Poverty and Anti-Poverty Policy: Cautions and Concerns in a Context of Multiple Feminisations and “Patriarchal Pushback.” In The Routledge Handbook of Latin American Development, ed. Cupples, Julie, Palomino-Schalsa, Marcela, and Prieto, Manuel. London: Routledge. 275–85.Google Scholar
Brandão, André, Da Dalt, Salete, and Gouvêa, Victor Hugo. 2007. Food and Nutrition Security Among Beneficiaries of the Bolsa Família Program. In Evaluation of MDS Policies and Programs—Results, vol. 2, ed. Vaitsman, Jeni and Paes-Sousa, Rômulo. Brasília: Ministry of Social Development.Google Scholar
Butto, Andrea. 2011. Director, Diretoria de Políticas para Mulheres Rurais (DPMR), Ministério do Desenvolvimento Agrário. Author interview. Brasília, July 1.Google Scholar
Camargo, Camila Fracaro, Curralero, Claudia Regina Baddini, Licio, Elaine Cristina, and Mostafa, Joana. 2013. Perfil socioeconômico dos beneficiarios do Programa Bolsa Família. In Bolsa Família, ed. Campello, Tereza and Neri, Marcelo Côrtes. Brasília: IPEA.Google Scholar
Campara, Jéssica Pulino, and Viera, Kelmara Mendes. 2016. Beneficiários do Programa Bolsa Família: relações com as finanças e impacto na satisfação global de vida. Nova Economia 26, 3: 9811006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Center for Global Development and Microsave. 2017. Household Perception: Impact of Bhamashah on Digital Governance Reforms in Rajasthan. Washington, DC: Center for Global Development.Google Scholar
Centro de Desenvolvimento e Planejamento Regional (CEDEPLAR) and Ministério do Desenvolvimento Social (MDS). 2007. Sumário executivo: avaliação de impacto do Programa Bolsa Família. Brasília: MDS.Google Scholar
Chant, Sylvia, and McIlwaine, Cahty. 2016. Cities, Slums and Gender in the Global South: Towards a Feminised Urban Future. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
Cookson, Tara Patricia. 2018. Unjust Conditions: Women’s Work and the Hidden Cost of Cash Transfer Programs. Berkeley: University of California Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cordeiro, Gabriela. 2011. Coordinator, Programa Balção da Cidadania. Author interview. Jaboatão dos Guararapes, July 5.Google Scholar
Costa, Delaine M. 2008. Considerações sobre o Programa Bolsa Família: implicações para o empoderamento e a autonomia das mulheres. Rio de Janeiro: IBASE.Google Scholar
Costanzi, Rogério N., and Fagundes, Flavio. 2010. Perfil does beneficiários do Programa Bolsa Família. In Bolsa Família 2003–2010, ed. Castro, J.A. and Modesto, Luci. Brasília: IPEA. 249-70.Google Scholar
De Brauw, Alan, and Peterman, Amber. 2011. Can Conditional Cash Transfers Improve Maternal Health and Birth Outcomes?: Evidence from El Salvador’s Comunidades Solidarias Rurales. International Food Policy Research Institute Discussion Paper 01080. April. Washington, DC: IFPRI.Google Scholar
De Brauw, Alan, Daniel, O. Gilligan, Hoddinott, John, and Roy, Shalini. 2014. The Impact of Bolsa Família on Women’s Decisionmaking Power. World Development 59 (July): 487504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
De Brauw, Alan, Daniel, O. Gilligan, Hoddinott, John, and Roy, Shalini. 2015. Bolsa Família and Household Labor Supply. Economic Development and Cultural Change 63, 3: 423-57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
De la O, Ana Lorena. 2015. Crafting Policies to End Poverty in Latin America: The Quiet Transformation. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Prefeitura, Dourados. Secretaria de Assistência Social. n.d. Assistência Social ministra palestras de combate ao suicídio. http://www.dourados.ms.gov.br/index.php/assistência-social-ministra-palestras-de-combate-ao-suicidioGoogle Scholar
The Economist. 2018. Exclusive Access. Special Report: Financial Inclusion. May 3.Google Scholar
Fiszbein, Ariel, Schady, Norbert, Ferreira, Francisco H. G., et al. 2009. Conditional Cash Transfers: Reducing Present and Future Poverty. World Bank PolicyResearch Report. Washington, DC: World Bank. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/2597Google Scholar
Fried, Brian. 2012. Distributive Politics and Conditional Cash Transfers: The Case of Brazil’s Bolsa Família. World Development 40, 5: 1042–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Garay, Candelaria. 2016. Social Policy Expansion in Latin America. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Garrido, Beatriz. 2014. Adviser, Assesoria Especial para a Modernização da Gestão, Ministério do Planejamento. Author interview. Brasília, May 26.Google Scholar
Gukovas, Renata, Muller, Miriam, Pereira, Ana Claudia, and Reimao, Maira Emy. 2016. A Snapshot of Gender in Brazil Today: Institutions, Outcomes, and a Closer Look at Racial and Geographic Differences. Washington, DC: World Bank, August. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/25976.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hagen-Zanker, Jessica, Pellerano, Luca, Bastagli, Francesca, Harmon, Luke, Barca, Valentina, Sturge, Georgina, Schmidt, Tanja, and Laing, Calvin. 2017. The Impact of Cash Transfers on Women and Girls: A Summary of the Evidence. ODI Briefing. London: Overseas Development Institute.Google Scholar
Handa, Sudhanshu, Peterman, Amber, Davis, Benjamin, and Stampini, Marco. 2009. Opening Up Pandora’s Box: The Effect of Gender Targeting and Conditionality on Household Spending Behavior in Mexico’s Progresa Program. World Development 37, 6: 1129–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Harris, Joseph. 2017. Achieving Access: Professional Movements and the Politics of Health Uni- versalism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Hawkins, Kate, and Edwards, Jenny, eds. 2014. Beyond 2015: Pathways to a Gender Just World. Conference report. Brighton: Pathways of Women’s Empowerment.Google Scholar
Horton, Lynn. 2018. Women and Microfinance in the Global South. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Hunter, Wendy, and Sugiyama, Natasha Borges. 2014. Transforming Subjects into Citizens: Insights from Brazil’s Bolsa Família. Perspectives on Politics 12, 4 (December): 829–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hunter, Wendy, and Sugiyama, Natasha Borges. 2018. Making the Newest Citizens: Achieving Universal Birth Registration in Contemporary Brazil. Journal of Development Studies 54, 6: 397412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). 2007. Promoting Gender Equality Through Gender Mainstreaming and Investing in Women’s Empowerment. Washington, DC: Gender and Diversity Unit, IDB.Google Scholar
Instituto Brasileiro de Análises Sociais e Econômicas (IBASE). 2008. Repercussoõs do Programa Bolsa Família na segurança alimentar e nutricional das Famílias beneficiadas. Rio de Janeiro: IBASE.Google Scholar
Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (IPEA). 2015. Data series: Analfabetos—pessoas 15 anos e mais—mulheres. http://www.ipeadata.gov.br/Default.aspx. Accessed December 12, 2018.Google Scholar
Kabeer, Nalia. 1999. Resources, Agency, Achievements: Reflections on the Measurement of Women’s Empowerment. Development and Change 30, 3: 435–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lavinas, Lena, Cobo, Barbara, and Veiga, Alinne. 2012. Bolsa Família: impacto das transferências de renda sobre a autonomia das mulheres pobres e as relações de gênero. Revista Latinoamericana de Población 6, 10: 3156.Google Scholar
Layton, Matthew. 2018. Bolsa Família: Historical, Popular, and Electoral Perspectives. In Routledge Handbook of Brazilian Politics, ed. Ames, Barry. New York: Routledge. 470–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Leonardes, Leila. 2014. Director, Coordenadoria Nacional da Secretaria Especial dos Direitos Humano, Ministério da Justiça. Author interview. Brasília, May 26.Google Scholar
Levy, Jack S. 2008. Case Studies: Types, Designs, and Logics of Interference. Conflict Management and Peace Science 25, 1: 118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lindert, Kathy, Linder, Anja, Hobbs, Jason, and de la Brière, Bénédicte. 2007. The Nuts and Bolts of Brazil’s Bolsa Família Program: Implementing Conditional Cash Transfers in a Decentralized Context. Social Policy Discussion Paper 709. Washington, DC: World Bank. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/972261468231296002/The-nuts-and-bolts-of-Brazils-bolsa-Família-program-implementing-conditional-cash-transfers-in-a-decentralized-contextGoogle Scholar
Machado, Daiane Borges, Laura, C. Rodrigues, Rasella, Davide, Barreto, Mauricio Lima, and Araya, Ricardo. 2018. Conditional Cash Transfer Programme: Impact on Homicide Rates and Hospitalizations from Violence in Brazil. PLoS ONE, 13, 12 (December 31). https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/citation?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0208925CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Mahmud, Simeen. 2003. Actually How Empowering Is Microcredit? Development and Change 34, 4: 577605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Martínez-Franzoni, Juliana, and Voorend, Koen. 2012. Blacks, Whites, or Grays? Conditional Transfers and Gender Equality in Latin America. Social Politics 19, 3: 383407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McGuire, James W. 2010. Wealth, Health, and Democracy in East Asia and Latin America. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ministério do Desenvolvimento Agrário (MDA). n.d. Ter documento é um directo. Toda mulher quer respeito. Programa Nacional de Documentação da Trabalhadora Rural, 2008–2010. Brasília: MDA.Google Scholar
Ministério do Desenvolvimento Social (MDS). 2006. Bolsa Família. Brasília: MDS.Google Scholar
Ministério do Desenvolvimento Social (MDS). 2012. Sumário executivo: avaliação de impacto do Programa Bolsa Família, 2a. Rodada (AIBF II). Brasília: MDS.Google Scholar
Ministério do Desenvolvimento Social (MDS). 2015. Centro de Referencia da Assistência Social (CRAS). June 22. http://mds.gov.br/assuntos/assistência-social/unidades-de-atendimento/crasGoogle Scholar
Modesto, Lucia. 2011. Special Adviser to the Minister, Ministério do Desenvolvimento Social. Author interview. Brasília, July 1.Google Scholar
Molyneux, Maxine. 2006. Mothers at the Service of the New Poverty Agenda: Progresa/ Oportunidades, Mexico’s Conditional Transfer Programme. Social Policy and Administration 40, 4: 425–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Molyneux, Maxine, Jones, Nicola, and Samuels, Fiona. 2016. Can Cash Transfer Programmes Have “Transformative” Effects? Journal of Development Studies 52, 8: 1087–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Moreira, Nathalia Carvalho, Ferreira, Marco Aurélio Marques, de Freitas Carvalho Lima, Afonso Augusto Teixeira, and Ckagnazaroff, Ivan Beck. 2012. Empoderamento das mulheres beneficiárias do Programa Bolsa Família na percepção dos agentes dos Centros de Referência de Assistência Social. Revista de Administração Pública 46, 2: 403–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Morris, Saul S. 2010. Conditional Cash Transfer Programs and Health. In Conditional Cash Transfers in Latin America, ed. Adato, Michelle and Hoddinott, John. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 212–30.Google Scholar
Moura, Antonia Rodriques. 2011. Nurse, Programa Saúde da Família. Author interview. Camaragibe, July 17.Google Scholar
Município de Santa Isabel. 2018. CRAS promove palestra sobre depressão para cadastrados no Bolsa Família. September 3. https://santaisabel.sp.gov.br/portal/cras-promove-palestra-sobre-depressao-para-cadastrados-no-bolsa-Família/Google Scholar
Narayan, Deepa, Chambers, Robert, Shah, Meera K., and Petesch, Patti. 2000. Voices of the Poor: Crying Out for Change. New York: Oxford University Press for the World Bank. http://hdl.handle.net/10986/13848CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Narayan, Uma. 2002. Minds of Their Own: Choices, Autonomy, Cultural Practices, and Other Women. In A Mind of One’s Own: Feminist Essays on Reason and Objectivity, ed. Louise, M. Antony and Charlotte, E. Witt.Boulder: Westview Press. 418–32.Google Scholar
Nussbaum, Martha C. 2000. Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nussbaum, Martha C. 2005. Women’s Bodies: Violence, Security, Capabilities. Journal of Human Development 6: 167–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pires, André. 2012. Family Income and Gender: Perceptions of the Family Aid Program. Cadernos de Pesquisa 42, 145: 130–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pritchett, Regina K. 2011. Land Titling as Women’s Empowerment. Master’s thesis, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.Google Scholar
Rego, Walquiria Leão, and Pinzani, Alessandro. 2014. Vozes do Bolsa Família. São Paulo: Editora Universidade Estadual Paulista.Google Scholar
Ribas-Prado, Mariani da Costa, Calais, Sandra Leal, and Cardoso, Hugo Ferrari. 2016. Stress, depressão, e qualidade de vida em beneficiários de programas de transferência de renda. Interação Psicologia 20, 3: 330–40.Google Scholar
Sacchet, Teresa. 2014. Adviser and Coordinator of the Committee on Gender and Public Policy for Women, Ministério do Desenvolvimento Social. Author interview. Brasília, May 5.Google Scholar
Samuels, Fiona, and Stavropoulou, Maria. 2016. “Being Able to Breathe Again”: The Effects of Cash Transfer Programmes on Psychosocial Wellbeing. Journal of Development Studies 52, 8: 10991114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Santos, Wanderley Guilherme dos. 1987. Cidadania e justiça. 2nd ed. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Campus.Google Scholar
Sen, Amartya. 1999. Development as Freedom. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
Smith-Ramani, Joanna, McKay, Katherine Lucas, and Mitchell, David. 2017. Income Volatility: Why It Destabilizes Working Families and How Philanthropy Can Make a Difference. December 17. Aspen: Aspen Institute. https://www.aspeninstitute.org/publications/income-volatility-destabilizes-families-philanthropy-can-make-differenceGoogle Scholar
Soares, Fábio Veras. 2011. Brazil’s Bolsa Família. Economic and Political Weekly 46, 21: 5560.Google Scholar
Solon, Avrairan Fabrícia Alves Caetano, Scott, Juliano Beck, de Sousa, Bunier Salles, de Lima, Larissa Maria, and de Oliveira, Isabel Fernandes. 2018. Saúde mental e assistência social: os desafios da psicologia no CRAS. Actas do 12° Congresso Nacional de Psicologia da Saúde. 147–55.Google Scholar
Suarez, Mireya, and Libardoni, Marlene. 2007. The Impact of the Bolsa Família Program: Changes and Continuities in the Social Status of Women. In Evaluation of MDSfPolicies and Programs—Results, ed. Vaitsman, Jeni and Paes-Souza, Rômulo. Brasília: SAGI/ MDS.Google Scholar
Sugiyama, Natasha Borges. 2012. Diffusion of Good Government: Social Sector Reforms in Brazil. Notre Dame: Notre Dame University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sugiyama, Natasha Borges, and Hunter, Wendy. 2013. Whither Clientelism? Good Governance and Brazil’s Bolsa Família Program. Comparative Politics 46, 1: 4362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tendler, Judith. 1997. Good Government in the Tropics. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
Tepperman, Jonathan. 2016. The Fix: How Nations Survive and Thrive in a World in Decline. New York: Tim Duggan Books.Google Scholar
Van Eerdewijk, Anouka, Wong, Franz, Vaast, Chloe, Newton, Julie, Tyszler, Marcelo, and Pennington, Amy. 2017. White Paper: A Conceptual Model of Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment. March. Amsterdam: KIT Royal Tropical Institute. https://www.kit.nl/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/BMGF_KIT_WhitePaper_web-1.pdfGoogle Scholar
Wampler, Brian, Sugiyama, Natasha Borges, and Touchton, Michael. 2019. Democracy at Work: Pathways to Well-Being in Brazil. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Westlund, Andrea C. 2009. Rethinking Relational Autonomy. Hypatia 24, 4: 2649.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
1
Cited by

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Do Conditional Cash Transfers Empower Women? Insights from Brazil’s Bolsa Família
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Do Conditional Cash Transfers Empower Women? Insights from Brazil’s Bolsa Família
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Do Conditional Cash Transfers Empower Women? Insights from Brazil’s Bolsa Família
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *