Introduction

K E Colverson 

Rural women’s roles and contributions to agriculture remain undervalued and neglected by the sector’s policy- making and implementation processes. Women typically are involved in many aspects of the agricultural value chain, often contributing anywhere from 25 to 75% of the productive labour. However, they generally have less access to rural advisory services (RAS) than men. They also have less access to agricultural inputs, such as fertilisers, technologies, and veterinary services, which reduces their overall productivity. This is particularly a problem in countries in Africa, where women’s agricultural involvement varies from about 30% in the Gambia to 60–80% in Cameroon. (1)
(1) Anriquez, G., Croppenstedt, A., Doss, C., Gerosa, S., Lowder, S., Matuschke, I., Raney, R. and Skoet, J., 2010. The role of women in agriculture. ESA working paper No 10-03. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
 Despite the evidence accumulated over several decades on women’s multi-faceted roles in farm-based livelihoods, and the need to support them, men are frequently still considered as the ‘lead’ farmer in a household, and RAS focus on their market-oriented interests. Women are often still seen as farmers who are primarily interested in feeding their household, rather than as active participants in the commercial value chain. Women play a crucial role in the distribution of both food and non-food household resources that determine the food security of the household. In a variety of contexts around the world, increasing the resources that women control has been shown to improve the nutritional, health, and educational outcomes of their children. (2)
(2) Quisumbing, A. 2009. Do men and women accumulate assets in different ways? Evidence from rural Bangladesh. Background paper prepared for the FAO State of Food and Agriculture 2010. Rome: FAO.
 Nonetheless, in many communities, women continue to face gender-based constraints that limit their ability to access agricultural information and opportunities, thereby limiting the family’s potential to be food secure. Increasing women’s access to extension services and agricultural inputs is critical to ensuring family and community food security.

Compiled by: Kathleen Earl Colverson, July 2015

Comments  

# EconomistaMaria Auxiliadora Briones 2015-07-27 17:38
La falta de acceso de las mujeres a los servicios de asesoría rural, son parte de un problema estructural global en donde la inequidad y condiciones desiguales han primado. un mayor acceso de parte de las mujeres rurales a los servicios de extensión serán asegurados siempre y cuando hayan políticas públicas claras y explicitas acompañadas de instrumentos orientadas a asegurar estas nuevas condiciones y relaciones en el sector rural. En América latina y de manera particular en Nicaragua este tema ha sido abordado tanto en las politicas como en los instrumentos de las politicas y se pueden notar ciertos avances en el tema de acceso, no asi en terminos de ingresos y participación.

Además del acceso a los Servicios de extensión los hacedores d epolíticas y actores involucrados en el desarrollo debemos tambien asegurar practicas y tecnologías con enfoque de género, es decir que tanto facilitamos o no el trabajo de las mujeres más que si solo aseguramos que participen y desarrollen procesos productivos que tambien los hombres realizan. y ahi la pregunta que surge es el como hacer para facilitar el trabajo de las mujeres con herramientas y practicas productivas apropiadas que les permita desarrollar sus actividades productivas bajo condiciones diferenciadas, propias para asegurar su participación bajo una nueva optica de desarrollo y equidad.
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# ConsultantVincent Akamandisa 2015-07-27 21:42
The document is well written and gives good practical strategies for intergrating gender in advisory services
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