Nudging Indigenous Women Beneficiaries of Conditional Cash Transfer: The Difficulties behind the Curtains

Conditional cash transfer program aims to reduce poverty by steering beneficiaries to invest in health and education. In many countries implementing this program, States assign mothers as primary recipients of the cash. In the Philippines, women also serve as the main grantees of their households hence they are in-charge of fulfilling the responsibilities attached to conditional cash transfer program. They are expected to invest their cash grant for the health and education needs of their children and perform other tasks expected of them as grantees. The cash management and obligations of program compliance are assigned to women in recognition of their capacities and in pursuit of empowering them in the process. In this paper, I challenge the assumption on equating access to cash with women empowerment in indigenous communities. Having generally lower socio-economic position in the society and possessing distinct cultural traits, indigenous mothers were faced with predicaments in the process of being the main program recipients. Through qualitative analysis of field work results from participant observation and semi-structured interviews, this study presents indigenous women‟s experiences on how a state social protection program that aims to empower women can do otherwise.