Rural women face diverse impediments to joining and being active participants in typically male-dominated cooperative like multipurpose cooperative. Due to unequal gender roles and relations, women’s have a lower socio-economic status, compared to their male counterparts, which restricts their access and participation in formal groups like cooperatives. This study aspires to assess the type and status of rural women’s participation in farmer cooperatives in Agarfa district. The finding of the study showed that, 23.5% of the sample respondents were low participatory, 60.8% of the respondents were medium participatory groups while 15.7% of the sample respondents were high participatory. The study concluded that gender equality and the active participation of rural women in multipurpose cooperatives are very important for the sustainable development of cooperative sectors and improvements in the service delivery of this sector. Finally, it is recommended that, there is a need to design and implement women targeted farm and off-farm income-generating schemes and provide Policy and legal enforcement support for women’s leadership in cooperative administration participation. There is also a need to have a sufficient and competent frontline to deliver timely and continuous training, information, and supervision of the cooperative, with due emphasis on gender mainstreaming and implementing women focused development interventions.
Keywords: Agarfa District, Cooperatives, Ethiopia, Participation, Rural women.