What impact do cash-transfers have on gender relations? There are two main ways in which cash transfer projects are seen as having potentially negative impacts on gender relations within recipient households. First, it is supposed that women are less likely to be able to command control over the use of cash within the household compared to certain types of in-kind assistance, namely food. Second, there are concerns that cash may be more prone than food aid to being used by men to purchase alcohol and cigarettes. This report analyses the findings of field research by the UK's Overseas Development Institute (ODI) into the gender issues emerging from the implementation of cash transfer programmes in Lesotho. The research reveals that gender conflicts in households are common in Lesotho as a result of shifting employment opportunities - particularly rising unemployment among men as a result of job losses in South Africa's mining industry, coupled with the emergence of new employment opportunities for women in Lesotho's textile industry. Such conflicts are magnified during times of crisis such as food shortage. However, the research findings suggest that cash transfers reduce gender conflicts within households, while not significantly increasing expenditure on alcohol and cigarettes. Conflicts between different generations within households as a result of cash transfers were found to be a much greater concern than conflicts between women and men, particularly in households where the elderly are taking care of orphans and vulnerable children. The report recommends that in countries where many people are living with HIV and AIDS, it is important to pay more attention to the impacts of policies and programmes on generational relations within households.
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