«Women-only focus group discussion in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. 17 August 2011 i Version 1 – August 2011 Contents Abbreviations and Acronyms Executive ...»
The link between income and food security has important gender dimensions. Several studies have shown that the person generating the income is important for food and nutrition security. Income is often unevenly distributed amongst family members, adversely affecting nutrition objectives. For instance, in south western Kenya, for a given household income level, female-controlled income share was shown to have a positive and significant effect on household calorie consumption, while male-controlled income had a negative effect (Kennedy in Quisumbing et al 1995). That said, WFP should be careful to encourage women to start growing the crops currently procured through P4P as this may potentially undermine household food diversity and nutrition. As the field work has demonstrated for East Africa, women are particularly involved in the production of vegetables and keeping dairy animals. These activities are often essential for households to maintain a diverse, nutritional diet and women should not be encouraged to abandon these responsibilities in favour of growing more staple crops. Field work also shows that women are well aware of this fact.
Improved child well-being does not only depend on food availability and diversity, but also on adequate care practices and time devoted to food preparation. Women tend to be the main (and often the sole) providers of care to other household members. A programme that requires women to be more involved in cash crop production, but does not simultaneously address their caring and domestic responsibilities may have negative consequences for the well-being of women themselves and of their dependents. For instance, in Ghana, women’s external employment was found to have a negative effect on household calorie availability (Haddad 1992). However, this may not always be the case; recent research from the Philippines shows that women’s participation in off-farm wage labour activities did not have a negative impact on child nutritional status, but rather that the increased income supported children’s well-being (Salazar and Quisumbing 2009).
Procurement, in the context of P4P, cannot and should not be dissociated from other activities that explicitly seek to address food security and resilience issues. Some of these activities will have to be more developmental. Currently the pilot focuses on procuring foods locally and at affordable prices. This approach puts the smallholder farmer at the centre of P4P’s target group, as solely a producer, with a narrow set of needs – mainly technical skills sets to enable better market access. The needs of the household, e.g. food and nutrition security, may thus be ignored or seen as not falling under the programme’s remit.
Addressing household nutrition and food security, and resilience, has to be done in an integrated way without giving women the sole responsibility for household food and nutrition security. Many programmes tend to confine women to activities such as kitchen gardens. These types of approaches deepen institutionalised cultural and social beliefs, where men worry about the market and women worry about the food for the family.
Approaches that build on these constructed roles deepen intra-household conflicts and further undermine women’s opportunities to succeed outside the confines of the household. Fieldwork has shown that this belief runs deep, and women recounted stories of how angry men became when, in bad agricultural years, they would get home and there was no food on the table. Men in Guatemala noted that whenever women serve them chili it was because there was nothing else to eat and this creates ‘problems’ between husband and wife. Men seem incapable of, or unwilling to, link the low productivity of their crops and the lack of food in the home.
Hence, whatever P4P’s approach to gender, WFP will need to monitor the households’ food and nutrition security situation closely in order to ensure that households are able to build their resilience to shocks that may lead to food crisis. Going beyond simply monitoring the situation, this may well imply supporting women in income generating activities that go beyond kitchen gardens, and promoting male sensitivity of their own responsibility in household food security.
The next section introduces a gender framework for action, with categories for women P4P beneficiaries based on these findings and limitations, and then describes more practical actions for targeting different groups of women.
4 The gender framework
4.1 Purposes and guiding principles This section introduces a gender framework for P4P. The purpose of this framework is to
enable WFP to:
Guide the operational roll-out of a Global Gender Strategy for P4P.
Investigate the causes (structural) and effects (practical) of gender-specific constraints that face rural women in different socio-economic categories in a variety of contexts, and identify possible options to effectively tackle these constraints and exploit the opportunities to promote women’s empowerment.
Better understand the potential trade-offs between different practical actions in order to take sound decisions about which groups of women to target and for what purpose, while ensuring at the very least that gender relations do not worsen.
Guide specific Country Offices on how to decide where they can and want to position themselves in the context of this framework, on the basis of the activities they decide to implement and the limits of the programme.
The development of the framework has been guided by the WFP Gender Policy and a
number of principles as agreed with WFP:
The overarching aim of any actions to enhance women’s participation in P4P is guided by WFP’s commitment to gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Equality between women and men is seen both as a human rights issue and as a precondition for, and indicator of, sustainable people-centred development.
In order to achieve gender equality, gender equity is necessary, i.e. fairness of treatment for women and men, according to their respective needs. This may include equal treatment or treatment that is different but which is considered equivalent in terms of rights, benefits, obligations and opportunities. A gender equity goal often requires builtin measures to compensate for the historical and social disadvantages of women.
The principle of ‘do no harm’, which is the commitment to prevent actions that cause
harm to any beneficiary.
4.2 A multi-dimensional, holistic definition of women’s empowerment The goal of gender equality has been defined by WFP (see Annex 1: Glossary), but there is less consensus and no articulation within WFP of the meaning of women’s empowerment.
This is a key aspect of the gender framework and it is articulated here in the context of agricultural development.
Often, the primary focus of many agricultural development programmes that deal with markets is on raising incomes alone. The assumption underpinning this is that women with control over resources (or women that have achieved what is often called ‘economic empowerment’) will provide sustainable solutions to many of the development problems facing the vulnerable and the poor through using their income to support families and communities. However, empirical evidence demonstrates that this is not necessarily the case and a more holistic approach to empowerment is a better way to achieve these goals (Martinez 2006).
A pure focus on women’s capacity to bring about economic change for themselves can reduce overall poverty (WB, FAO, IFAD 2009) and increase national agricultural outputs (Alderman et al 1995). However, women’s own incomes may be another resource that they do not fully control, and even if they do control it, this control is not immediately translated into women’s social and political empowerment. If intra-household gender relations are neglected by policy makers’ and development practitioners’ (including WFP), efforts to support women’s increased income can have adverse effects on well-being, e.g. family and child nutrition (Haddad 1992), on the overall income from other economic activities (Gallina 2010), and on women’s exposure to domestic violence (Rahman 1999).
Empowerment is thus a multidimensional concept, made up of several interrelated dimensions: social, cultural, economic. Distilling these interrelated dimensions, if only for analytical purposes, is a narrow and limited approach (Moser 2007; Martinez 2006).
Women’s empowerment is understood better as a series of processes and changes whereby women’s agency is expanded, i.e. the processes by which the capacity to make strategic life choices and exert influence is acquired by women who have so far been denied it (Kabeer 2010).
Women’s empowerment is thus both a process and an outcome and can involve:
‘power within’ or belief in one’s own intrinsic worth and capabilities.
‘power to’ which implies the ability to use these capabilities to achieve valued goals or to opt out.
‘power with’ or the power that comes from acting collectively with others in pursuit of common goals.
The process of women’s empowerment is illustrated in Figure 1 which shows how it entails addressing gender constraints that are driven by biases in institutions at various levels (or the rules, norms, values, beliefs and practices which determine how people are supposed to act/behave) to support women’s agency. It involves awareness-raising, building selfconfidence, expansion of choices, increased access to and control over resources and actions.
Figure 1: The process of women’s empowerment
Agency to challenge or renegotiate unequal power relations, or to opt out
4.3 Three operational approaches on gender The extent to which programmes in agriculture are able to impact on gender and promote multi-dimensional processes of empowerment for women are limited and vary. In
recognition of this, the framework distinguishes three different operational approaches:
Gender blind: The programme does not distinguish between women’s and men’s labour, management and decision-making roles and tends to ignore who owns/controls productive assets including land (assuming equal access to resources or that resources belong to the family or men).
Gender aware: The programme understands and takes into account gender differences in roles and access to resources but does not seek to challenge the status quo. In other words, the programme addresses and deals with the effects, without aiming to contribute towards addressing the causes of the issues affecting women. Through this approach, the programme aims to increase women’s well-being, but it may end up contributing to changing the status quo of gender relations in anticipated or unanticipated ways. This approach is risky, as it can have both negative and positive impacts on gender relations as can be seen in Section 5 below.
Gender transformative: The programme sets as an explicit goal the transformation of the unequal gender relations, i.e. it contributes to addressing the gender-specific constraints and root causes of women’s subordination. This alongside considering women’s practical constraints. This approach promote the process and outcome of women’s empowerment. This approach also carries risks, but as it explicitly aims to transform gender relations, potential adverse consequences on gender equality are considered in planning activities.
Gender aware and gender transformative categories are not mutually exclusive. Not all programmes should aim to become gender transformative. Since gender roles tend to be deeply rooted in socially constructed norms and ideologies which cannot be easily changed by projects in the course of a few years, some may question whether changes in gender relations should be prompted from the outside or rather be left to women’s own forms of agency (Gallina 2010). Transformation is not a one-off event but a gradual and evolving process, which needs a long-term strategy. Alternatively, by addressing these structural constraints, gender transformative approaches may support women’s capacity for initiative and leadership. It is possible for an essentially gender aware programme to contain, at the outset, one or two gender transformative components. For example, a programme can be deliberately started as gender aware, to gain trust and self-confidence, and then move on to transformative aims and activities.
4.4 Categories of women P4P beneficiaries The field research combined with the literature review has demonstrated that there are four different categories of women that P4P could target:42
1. Women producers and/or marketers of crops/ food products currently being procured through P4P, who demonstrate potential to sell or that are already selling through P4P (e.g. through FOs or trading through the conditional tender mechanisms ). Often these The focus here is on women’s different productive roles in agriculture. Other categories could also prove explanatory, e.g. women’s marital status, class, age or ethnicity.
women are female-headed households and/ or older women from polygamous marriages (FHHs/ OWPs). These women already have the essential prerequisite for selling surplus produce through P4P, but might be disadvantaged in comparison to their male counterparts for a variety of reasons.
2. Women unpaid family workers. These women are linked to P4P through their husbands and primarily partake in P4P activities through supporting their husbands on their farms, in the production of cash crops. Women engage in this work because they see it as their obligation as household members. However, the field work in Ethiopia, Guatemala and Tanzania showed that in many cases women had very little or no interest in pursuing it as their full-time, main economic activity.
3. Women producers and/or petty traders of crops/ food products not currently procured through P4P. They have no link to the P4P initiative, but potentially could.
These women produce enough surplus crops/ food products and to some extent already engage in the market, and/ or are part of collective organisations (the majority womenonly). This group may overlap with group two if they also work on family farms.
4. Women casual agricultural labourers that may be working as seasonal labourers on farms that sell produce through P4P, or as labourers in processing and packing activities.