«Women-only focus group discussion in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. 17 August 2011 i Version 1 – August 2011 Contents Abbreviations and Acronyms Executive ...»
West African farming systems are quite complex and the division of labour varies according to different crops. Women tend to be primarily involved with production, processing and marketing of pulses (e.g. Niger, Nigeria, Senegal), rather than cereals such as maize, millet and sorghum. The distinction often made between women’s and men’s crops is complex. Doss shows that although there are some crops in Ghana that women are very actively involved with (e.g. cassava, maize, pepper, plantain), many men also grow these crops. Again, the distinction lies in who controls production (men, married women, FHHs), and for which market (local, global, production for domestic consumption) (Thorsen and Reenberg 2000; SIDA 2004). In Burkina Faso, where millet farming generates little surplus income, millet is increasingly left for women to farm, in spite of the fact that husbands are seen as primary millet-providers (SIDA 2004). Women tend to have access to their own fields, where they grow vegetables or rice (Dey 1984;
Carney 2000). These personal fields are also often used by households to grow extra millet, suggesting that women provide an increasingly important role in subsistence food provision. However, these women are unwilling to call themselves millet producers, rather aligning themselves with the role of ‘feeding their children’ (SIDA 2004). These personal fields may be neglected during cropping periods, as women support their husbands on family plots.21 Rice, traditionally a women’s crop, has now attracted male involvement. This is because it has increased in commercial value as a result of advances in technology (primarily irrigation) (von Braun and Webb 1989). Women, though, remain responsible for most rain-fed rice (Dey 1984; Carney 2000 Carney and Watts 1990; WB, FAO, IFAD 2009). Women do, however, negotiate activities around rice production and processing (Günther 1998). In Ghana, Doss shows that, overall, women who grow staple crops are from FHHs (2002), although in other part of West Africa (e.g. Mali) the notion of FHHs is largely absent, as when the man dies, he is replaced by his brother or eldest son.22 Women play important roles in shea butter production and marketing, and fish processing in coastal areas (Kwa and Bassoume 2007; Weeratunge and Snyder 2009).
In Southern Africa, the division of labour for women is similar to other parts of Africa, although there are isolated instances where women’s involvement dominates certain cash crops such as cashew nuts in Malawi and groundnuts in Zambia (Gallina 2010;
Byrne 1994). In Zambia, where maize is the most important subsistence crop, and also a key commodity for P4P, women have traditionally been involved in production, processing and marketing to a greater extent. However, maize hybrids, which have greater commercial potential, are associated with a reduction in decision-taking by women, particularly in relation to hiring labour, purchasing inputs and selling produce Feedback from P4P in Burkina Faso.
Feedback from P4P in Mali.
due to further constraints (see sections below). In general, FHHs experience difficulty in adopting commercial production practices (Byrne 1994).
In Latin America, where most families comprise monogamous units, the division of labour for women between industrialised crop production and peasant farming (Ashby 1985) is more demarcated than in Africa. Women are engaged in subsistence horticulture, poultry and small livestock, predominantly for domestic consumption. In general, women’s participation in family farming systems is much more important in the Andean countries than in the southern region of South America (Deere and León 1987). For instance, in Guatemala, women either did not engage in agricultural production at all, or participated only in very specific and timed activities. Generally, a woman’s role within the family unit is limited to her reproductive role (Deere and León 1987) and as ‘helper’ for men (Spindel 1986). The feminisation of labour migration is quite pronounced internally, inter-regionally and internationally (Piper 2005). So unlike SSA, the agricultural sector is not the main provider of female employment in Latin America (FAO 2011a). At least three-quarters of women in employment are occupied in the private sector (UN 2010). Women historically migrated to take jobs in urban areas, but more recently female rural employment in Latin America has increased (Truitt 1998). The number of FHHs is steadily increasing (SIGI 2009), and it is believed that the number is under-reported (see Deere 2005). There is a consensus among Latin Americans that in rural areas the rise in the number of FHHs is linked to migration: women become the head of households when men migrate in search for work and they remain the head of households if men who migrated do not return. Migration is linked to difficulties facing smallholder agriculture (e.g. access to land) and lack of other rural employment. In Guatemala, women did mention migration as a factor influencing the increasing number of FHHs. Yet many of these women did not own land at all, either because they did not own land before their husbands migrated (they rented), or because their husbands sold the land once they migrated. Of the ones who did own land, it was unclear whether or not in practice they did exert control over that land. In some cases, it seems that women’s families (i.e. their fathers) ‘supported’ their daughters.
2.2.2 Women’s work loads This division of labour has an impact on women’s work loads. Women’s working days tend to be considerably longer than men’s. They have a triple burden: maintaining their own contributions to the household income (including food production, firewood and water collection, and any additional activities to supplement household income); seeing to their reproductive responsibilities (e.g. childcare and care for the elderly and sick, feeding, cleaning, maintenance); and supporting men’s productive responsibilities (Kes and Swaminathan 2006; Carr with Hartl 2010). Evidence reveals that the use of women in agriculture varies widely depending on the crop and the phase of the production cycle, the age and ethnic group of the women in question, the type of activity, and a number of other factors (FAO 2011a). There are studies that show that women who have huge reproductive responsibilities spend less time in agriculture than men and that women who head households have larger burdens than women in male-headed households (Fontana with Paciello 2010). However, ALINe’s fieldwork has shown that the type and amount of agricultural work that women undertake is more culturally and socially determined than influenced by their associated reproductive responsibilities and workload. In Africa (Ethiopia and Tanzania), women accumulate agricultural work with their reproductive responsibilities, and women participate in every stage of the production process of cash and familyconsumption crops. Hence, women have heavy workloads, working 15 - 17 hours a day. This seems to be a common trend in Africa where, for instance, evidence from Burkina Faso (14.3 vs. 8.7 hours), Nigeria (14 vs. 8.5 hours) and Zambia (12.2 vs. 7.2) shows that women work more than men on and off the farm (Saito 1994).
In Latin America, women spend on average less of their time on agricultural labour, and the gender division of labour means that they tend to be more involved in off-farm labour markets, with data from 1995 estimating that women spend four hours a day on agricultural activities (Truitt 1998). However, they still face similar time constraints as African women, having to reconcile their employment with their reproductive activities. In Guatemala, most women tend not to work in agriculture, and if and when they do they perform very specific tasks. Thus, agricultural work does not add much to women’s reproductive workloads there.
However, it must be noted that although women participating in the research recounted their long days, they did not see time as a primary constraint hindering their participation in more productive activities. In fact, men often emphasised women’s (reproductive) workload as a reason for not engaging women in other activities, from training to leadership positions.
Women, however, were adamant that despite their heavy workloads they would be able to work around their responsibilities in order to participate in activities they considered to their advantage. This finding confirms the International Centre for Research on Women’s (ICRW’s) earlier work in Rwanda on gender in P4P (Kes and Mehra 2009).
The variations in studies make it clear that generalisations should not be made across different contexts (FAO 2011a), although in P4P pilot countries in Africa the burden seems to be significant and this is supported by ALINe’s fieldwork. The prevalence of HIV in many countries in Africa has contributed to women’s increase in domestic work, in particular as women and girls take on responsibility for caring for children of other family members that have died from AIDS and for the sick (Kes and Swminathan 2004).
2.3 Access to and control over resources Unequal gender relations, along with other social relations, frame the opportunities and constraints for access and control over the resources needed to take part in productive agricultural activities. They present practical challenges for gender equity. The resources which women may lack access to and/or control over are grouped according to different types of livelihood capital: natural capital, financial capital, physical capital, human capital and social capital23. These have all been shown to determine agricultural productivity (ALINe 2011).
2.3.1 Natural capital (land) As can be seen in Table 4 below, land is not commonly held by women in P4P pilot countries. Land is not traditionally a female asset as women are seen primarily as mothers and wives. Without land, women are not able to produce for the markets and they will not be legally recognised as producers in their own right and may find it difficult to gain membership of FOs (FAO 2011a; WB, FAO, IFAD 2009; Quisumbing and Pandolfelli 2010). In Political capital is not discussed as this is not relevant to P4P.
many cases, women’s unequal access to land is sanctioned by the law, e.g. through land titling or inheritance rules.
Land ownership is a key issue in Africa. Legal protection may exist in theory in certain countries, but in practice women’s ownership rights remain highly restricted (Holmes and Jones 2009). In general, the resource tenure systems in place are complex and do not work to women’s advantage. Women in Africa often secure indirect rights to land (i.e. use of it) through their husbands and wider family relationships24. Women’s actual access to land is negotiated within each family, and is a product of existing power relations in which women have the least bargaining power (Rocheleau and Edmunds 1997). This may mean that the land that women have rights to tends to be smaller than men’s, (FAO 2011a) and less fertile (SIGI 2009)25. In many instances, women are also likely to lose access to land upon the death of their husbands. The complexity of land tenure systems also reflects the fact that informal systems are dynamic. These are likely to change according to socio-economic and environmental factors (see, for instance, Nightingale 2006). Several authors have highlighted land scarcity and its implications for women’s land tenure. Men and communities have been effectively ‘expropriating’ women of their rights to land (Kevane and Gray 2008). Consequently, in some cases women cease to have access to land for subsistence food production when the land is requisitioned for cash-crop production and this may have serious consequences for household food security (Maertens 2010). In addition, men and communities may use statutory or customary law to their advantage and to women’s detriment26, e.g. by appropriating land from a widow who is unaware of her legal rights (Dimitra 2009). In East Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda have revised the law in order to sanction improved land rights to women. However, much remains to be achieved – both in these countries, as well as in the rest of Africa. In Kenya, women only own 4 per cent of land (SIGI 2009). In Rwanda and Ethiopia, land is transferred from father to son, and women can only access use rights through marriage. In West Africa, women may have private plots that they manage, but these are in fact owned by the head of the household. 27 In Southern Africa, for instance DRC, the legal right to land concessions allows land to be given to men and women without distinction, but traditional attitudes still discriminate against women. Although women can own land, everything related to the land must be administered by their husbands, including inputs. In the event of a dispute, women are expected to seek a court order to prevent mismanagement of property (SIGI 2009).
In Latin America, land ownership has usually been regarded as an exclusively male prerogative. Men own and work the land. Women comprise only 11 - 27 per cent of all landowners across the region (Deere and León 2001). Women are more likely to own land through inheritance, but inheritance rights to land remain unpredictable for women (Carneiro 2001 and Brumer 2004) and often male heirs are given preference while women are left to consider marriage or migration (Stropasolas 2004).
Lands rights may be de jure (formal title to the land) or de facto (rights to farm the land) (Doss 2002).
This point is important as it may mean that women are more susceptible to the natural environment and instances of drought. Field work in Ethiopia showed that women saw climatic variability as one of the main constraints they faced.
On the complex interplay between statutory and customary law see, for instance, van Donge 1993.
Feedback from P4P in Mali.
Women were not the landowners in any of the countries where fieldwork took place.
Particularly in Ethiopia and Tanzania, land came up as a major problem both for men and women. While men emphasised land scarcity as a limiting factor to increasing production, women referred to their lack of land ownership as disempowering. Without land, women felt that whatever they did it would not really benefit them. As a result, women showed a preference for engaging in activities such as cattle fattening or diary production. In some cases, women jointly rented a piece of land instead of using their own family land.