«Women-only focus group discussion in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. 17 August 2011 i Version 1 – August 2011 Contents Abbreviations and Acronyms Executive ...»
In Ethiopia there are particular difficulties with the public sector extension system and its efforts to reach women. While overall extension services are relatively accessible in Ethiopia, there are differences in access between men and women, and particularly stark differences by region (Mogues et al 2009). Fieldwork has shown, however, that at least in Ethiopia the question of access is just the first hurdle. The second seems to be the type of extension support. Even in areas where extension services are available and accessible, women seem to think that these are not adequate to their needs. In some FGDs, women compared the approach of the health extension worker to that of the agricultural extension worker. The former, according to women, spent time with them in their household, i.e. they would meet them in their house and explain to them how to maintain the minimal standards of hygiene, how to clean, and so forth. The agricultural extension worker did not have the same approach as the health extension worker.
Agricultural extension workers were in the community but remained remote from the households. The gender of these extension workers (health and agricultural) was never mentioned. Rather, women emphasised the approach. In other countries, the lack of access to extension services affects both women and men in equal measure. In Tanzania, for instance, in some communities extension workers were compared to the police: ‘You contact them when you have a problem, they say they will come and never show up.’ In Southern Africa, the way in which the extension system has developed historically has meant that it has had a strong focus on elite farmers, to the detriment of poorer and women farmers. This problem remains where extension workers do not have the capacity for more demand-driven services (Mapila et al 2010). There are some individual examples of success by just making small adjustments to existing activities: in Malawi, male extension agents were encouraged to focus on women (asking them to be included with their husbands, specific seminars for women farmers and women farmers successes highlighted) (Jiggins et al 1998).
Data from 1993 estimates that only 1.5 per cent of extension workers are women in Latin America and that only 15 per cent of extension services are directed towards women. As in SSA, this may be due to the assumption that those in need of extension services are men (Collett and Gale 2009).
Health and nutrition contribute greatly to a person’s ability to work effectively. Although health outcomes are not gender differentiated across the board, women tend to have higher energy and nutritional needs during pregnancy and lactation and their nutritional status has a correlation with the impact on their children. There is also evidence that they are less likely to have access to health services (Buvinic et al 2006; FAO 2011a). A major constraint to health and nutrition in SSA is the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The continent suffers from a number of other diseases and health issues, many of them afflicting women disproportionately, particularly in terms of the additional burden on women’s time (Steiner et al 2004).
The fieldwork has shown that health features very highly in women’s lists of concerns.
Interestingly, men also saw health as being a major concern for women. For women, the lack of access to health services meant that whenever they had a health problem it would take a long time to resolve and their productive capacity was affected. Hence women’s concern with their health was linked to their diminished capacity to perform their productive and reproductive tasks. Maternal health was also a particular preoccupation.
2.3.5 Social capital Women’s limited social space and engagement in social networks may pose some constraints for women to accumulate social capital (Gomulia 2007). Access to social capital is particularly important for female farmers as it provides the formal and informal networks through which they gain valuable information and exert influence (Meinzen-Dick et al 2010).
A distinction is often made between bonding (or ‘horizontal’ forms of) social capital in which relations of trust are between members of the same social strata and tend to be informal, and bridging and linking (or ‘vertical’ forms of) social capital in which relations of trust are between members of different social strata and tends to be more formal (Woolcock 2000;
Lewandowski 2006)32. Several studies have found that women depend more on the bonding social capital and are able to form stronger kinship and friendship relations than men, who This literature on social capital has failed to adequately incorporate gender dimensions (Westermann et al
2005) and the distinction between these different categories are under discussion, but for the purpose of this review these categories map together well.
tend be better at accessing bridging and linking social capital. Gender disparities are reflected in the small number of women FO members of, and the propensity of women to join other types of groups such as self-help groups, rotational works groups and civic associations (Godquin and Quisumbing 2008). On the other hand, there is also an underlying gendered assumption that women welcome participation and work well together in groups of other women (Weeratunge and Snyder 2009). With competing demands on their time, they may have less time to socialise and join groups and they may also lack the confidence and the belief in themselves that would propel them to take on more active roles in their communities (Lyon 2008). In the end variables such as number of children, marital status, age, employment status, income and occupation can be more important for explaining differences in men and women’s social networks than gender (Westermann et al 2005;
Kebede and Butterfield 2009) 33. There are regional variations:
Due to the different nature of men’s and women’s social capital and networks, as well as the influence of cultural and religious variables, women in East Africa may be less likely to have bonding social capital, from training to being members of formal associations.
Indeed several studies show that men are more likely to be members of FOs or of any other type of group structures (Katungi et al 2006; Place at al 2002). However, at the local level women are involved in more informal groups than men, for instance rotating savings and credit associations (or ‘merry-go-rounds’) in Kenya (Kariuki and Place 2005).
These groups may have a positive effect on women’s livelihoods and provide a critical mass of farmers for agricultural development34.
In West Africa, women in polygamous marriages may in particular lack social networks, although they may have more decision-making power than women in male-headed households (Ahikire et al 2010). Women who do try to enter formal male-dominated organisations often face harassment. Civil society has played a role in furthering women's participation. Much of this work is conducted by national women's groups – often in partnership with or with technical assistance from international actors – and has focused on harnessing a sense of solidarity among women to overcome the obstacles they encounter. However, there is some evidence that the nature of international support has limited its intended impact and in some cases served to undermine the unity of civil society (Kellow 2010).
As in East Africa, saving groups provide a good example of social capital among women in Southern Africa. Comprised mainly of poor women, such groups save and lend small amounts of money on a daily basis, thereby strengthening trust, solidarity, and collective identity. In many communities, women's groups are able to develop solidarity networks that transcend ethnicity, race, sex, gender and economic survival (Gomulia 2007).
However, this bridging social capital does not translate to bonding and linking social capital and women face difficulties entering FOs (Mapila et al 2010). For instance, the National Smallholder Farmer Organisation (NASFAM) in Malawi noted at FO meetings that the majority of the women were involved in cooking for the participants and missed out of decision-making and discussions. NASFAM members are now instructed to ensure Personal communication with Mary Njenga, CIP researcher, who is involved in World Bank study on women’s groups in Kenya.
‘Merry-go-rounds’ are informal savings groups that are built on traditional women’s groups and are based on trusting relationships (Okello 2008).
that independent cooks are hired to prepare any meals/snacks that are deemed necessary, thus leaving the women members with the opportunity to fully participate in the meetings (WFP 2009b).
There is a strong tradition of social movements in Latin America. Yet the region also has a strong tradition of a macho-type culture. Social and civic movements were forged in the opposition to autocratic populist regimes and deeply influenced by Liberation Theology and left-wing ideologists. Although extremely pro-poor and particularly active in the rural areas, leading the way in the struggle for land reform and re-distribution, social movements in the region never took women’s issues to heart. Progress has been made in the number of women members of organisations, and in leadership positions (Lyon 2008; Deere and Royce 2009). Some women’s movements have become autonomous. Development actors have worked with these grassroots groups with good results, focusing on deconstructing patriarchal culture (Deere and Leon 2001). Many development actors supporting market integration have drawn strongly on mixed-gender collective association and participation.
However, there is anecdotal evidence that mixed gender participation and collective association in the region reinforces existing social and gender hierarchies (Caldeira 2009).
Common across all countries where fieldwork took place is women’s preference for womenonly groups. This preference ties to women’s awareness that even if they are in mixed groups the quality of their participation will be low given that these groups will be a reflection of the society at large; women will not be allowed to take on leadership positions or will not feel comfortable with doing so. The feeling is that in women-only groups there is an immediate shared understanding of needs, and a greater sense of safety. Women also felt that these groups would allow them to practice their leadership qualities comfortably.
In Guatemala, however, men, and even qualified community workers, often mentioned that it was necessary to be ‘careful’ with women-only groups because women tended to be too confrontational among themselves. This is a stereotype that informs the approach to work with women. What was different between Guatemala, and Ethiopia and Tanzania is that in the former, women’s isolation from the community is greater. That is, in Ethiopia and Tanzania there is more community life, whereas in Guatemala the social network is further reduced to the family unit. Therefore while in Ethiopia and Tanzania women already informally relied on each other, the same did not happen in Guatemala.
2.4 Market access Unequal gender power relations and the gender division of labour often mean that women face differential access to markets and struggle to enter value chains for commercial products (OECD 2006; Gammage et al 2005). Markets are institutions which operate through a system of rules, practices and regulations that tend to hinder women’s access.
There are two broad types of markets which are relevant for P4P:
2.4.1 Agricultural markets The main challenges for women accessing goods markets include their lack of resources such as land, inputs and knowledge. These constraints restrict women from producing large volumes of high-quality food for sale in large, centralised markets. Women lack access to transport and may face discrimination by established buyers and sellers (Quisumbing and Pandolfelli 2010). Producer organisations may also have specific rules that hinder women’s membership. Gender-related barriers affect both earnings and cost-effectiveness and have implications for producers as well as households. This is particularly important in export-led growth when women’s traditional crops acquire a market value and women find it difficult to retain control over their production and marketing (Gallina 2010; Kasente et al 2000).
The literature on gender and market access in Africa reports that women’s access to and involvement in goods markets is constrained. In some instances, women are involved in marketing surplus production of staples and vegetables for domestic markets and cash crops for international markets. With the rapid expansion of supermarkets in urban areas, opportunities are increasing for women to supply these with vegetables and fruit (WB, FAO, IFAD 2009).
For East Africa there are isolated instances of women’s increased participation, e.g. in Tanzania, women are found in low-profit, small-scale food, processing and marketing to local markets (Baden 1998). In Kenya, they supply vegetables to supermarkets. Evidence from Kenya shows that men have become more involved in vegetable production as a result of increased commercialisation (Gallina 2010). Again, the fieldwork in Ethiopia and Tanzania highlights the need to look at different types of women. Women in maleheaded households were simply not interested in entering a market for agricultural goods because their husbands are tasked with trading surplus crops. On the other hand, women in FHHs enter markets more easily and do market surplus staple crops, such as maize. However, according to men, women are not involved in marketing because they cannot travel long distances due to their household responsibilities and workload, and because women are to stay in the household.