Do cash transfers shift gender norms of economic relations within households and communities during crises? This study explores the effect of social protection programs like cash transfers on women's economic empowerment in contexts where climate change and violent conflicts co-occur. Cash transfers have become a policy of choice for governments and development agencies seeking to alleviate poverty, address economic and political grievances, and build individual and community resilience to climate change. Due to the recent popularity of cash transfers, there needs to be more scholarship on its effect on women's intra-household economic agency and voice in communities. Therefore, this study put forth a theory that implores scholars to reassess many of the prevalent frames and lenses used in exploring women's economic empowerment topics. As cash transfer programs become more popular, researchers and development practitioners must pay more attention to how cash transfers and structural conditions interactively shape opportunities for women's economic empowerment. This study uses secondary data from the gender analysis of the Nigerian National Social Safety Nets Program (NASSP), the Ghanian Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) project, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Datasets (ACLED), and climate data from the World Meteorological Service. Findings from the Nigerian case study show that women receiving cash transfers may exercise increased intra-household economic agency during crises such as drought, flooding, or escalation of armed conflicts. Women may also be able to express their voice in community leadership during crises due to high out-migration of men and forced conscription and killing of male household leads. In the Ghanaian case, women's economic empowerment is often an artifact of their socioeconomic status pre-crisis. Across both cases, it is uncertain if women's acquired economic agency and voice persist post-conflict or when climate impacts abate.


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Graduation Date





Baggio, Jacopo


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences


School of Politics, Security and International Affairs

Degree Program

Security Studies


CFE0009829; DP0027770





Release Date

June 2024

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)

Restricted to the UCF community until June 2024; it will then be open access.