Front Cover
 Title Page
 Tables of contents
 Rural women: A force for chang...
 Women in development: The plan...
 Plan of action: Integrating women...
 Civil status sphere: A foundation...
 Economic sphere: Increasing the...
 Social sphere: Easing women's daily...
 Decision-making sphere: Giving...
 Launching the plan: Programme...
 Launching the plan: Monitoring...
 Back Cover

Group Title: Women in agricultural development : FAO's plan of action.
Title: Women in agricultural development
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00084636/00001
 Material Information
Title: Women in agricultural development FAO's plan of action
Physical Description: 41 p. : ill., map ; 30 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Publisher: FAO
Place of Publication: Rome
Publication Date: 1990
Subject: Women in agriculture -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Genre: international intergovernmental publication   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00084636
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 23897322
lccn - 91186577

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Page 1
    Tables of contents
        Page 2 (MULTIPLE)
        Page 3
    Rural women: A force for change
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Women in development: The plan evolves
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Plan of action: Integrating women into development
        Page 8
        Page 9
    Civil status sphere: A foundation for women's progress
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
    Economic sphere: Increasing the income of women
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
    Social sphere: Easing women's daily burden
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
    Decision-making sphere: Giving women the choice
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
    Launching the plan: Programme priorities
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
    Launching the plan: Monitoring and appraisal
        Page 40
        Page 41
    Back Cover
        Page 42
Full Text

I S.



DEVELO PM ENT ...... ......

.. .

This page:
Tunisia Haymaking

Indonesia Women
harvesting rice.
Morocco Women cutting
artichokes for export
Burkina Faso Agriculture
student learns use and
maintenance of modern
plough at training centre.
Peru Herder carries lamb
while driving livestock home
for the night.

"...discrimination against women
violates the principles of equality of
rights and respect for human dignity, is
an obstacle to the participation of
women, on equal terms with men, in
the political, social, economic and
cultural life of their countries, hampers
the growth of the prosperity of society
and the family and makes more difficult
the full development of the
potentialities of women in the service
of their countries and of humanity."
Lnied atonr coruen- oA 6e
Elimination o Ail Form or D :- --" .* i -." 'i -
December 1979

"Women should participate and
contribute on an equal basis with men
in the social, economic and political
processes of rural development and
share fully in improved conditions of
life in rural areas."
The DeclaraPtion r Prnce arn PPoeramme o Acion a
Dhe Wotrld ConLerence o rarian Re o- anr Rral
Deweopmoent. Jh. 1979

"Development strategies and
programmes. as well as incentive
programmes and projects in the field of
food and agriculture, need to be
designed in a manner that fully
integrates women at all levels of
planning, implementation, monitoring
and evaluation in all stages of the
development process of a project cycle,
so as to facilitate and enhance this key
role of women and to ensure that
women receive proper benefits and
remuneration commensurate with their
important contribution in this field."
The a irob Fo ard-Looking Strategies ror the Advancement

"Substantively. the major thrust of
FAO's activities will continue to be
directed at supporting women in their
role as agricultural producers. Within
this framework, future activities will
give greater recognition to women's
special needs for (i) income-generating
activities and control of income,
(u) educational and training
opportunities and (iii) technologies and
other means to both ease the burden
and increase the productivity of
women's work."
FAO Plan or Acio for lnoegation of 0mesn in
Deloomewnt Noember 1988

Plan of Action



Rural women
A force for change

Women in development
The Plan evolves

FAO's Plan of Action
Integrating women into development

Civil status sphere
A foundation for women's progress

Economic sphere
Increasing the income of women
Social sphere
Easing women's daily burden

Decision-making sphere
Giving women the choice

Launching the Plan
Programme priorities
Monitoring and appraisal



For many years FAO has undertaken
activities which aim at promoting the
role of women in agriculture and rural
development. In November 1988 the
FAO Council requested the
Organization to intensify further its
efforts in this field. The Council
unanimously adopted for transmission
to the Conference a Plan of Action for
the Integration of Women in
Development, which provides
guidelines for FAO to ensure the
incorporation of concerns for women
into all its activities. A summarized
version of this Plan is presented in this
publication. It is issued in order to
familiarize a wide readership, at both
governmental and non-governmental
levels, with FAO's approach and to
stimulate supportive action for the
integration of women in the
development process.
A series of international events
have set the stage for this move
towards giving due recognition and
support to women in agricultural
production, processing, marketing and
in home economics. The International
Women's Year in 1975 created an
awareness and led to the commitment
of numerous governments and
international organizations to eliminate
discrimination against women. The
decade for women in development that
followed, culminated in the 1985
Nairobi Forward-Looking Strategies for

Opposite page:
SEcuador Farmers

This page:
Mozambique -
dragging nets.

the Advancement of Women. Already
in 1979 the World Conference on
Agrarian Reform and Rural
Development had declared "that rural
development based on growth with
equity will require the full integration
of women". This conviction was echoed
by FAO's World Conference on
Fisheries Management and
Development held in 1984 and FAO's
World Forestry Congress in 1985. It is
now fully articulated with respect to
FAO's entire field of responsibility in
the FAO Plan of Action.
The Plan of Action outlines four
spheres of activities. They relate to the
civil status of rural women, to their
economic and social situation and to
their role in decision making. Each
sphere includes activities which aim at
removing existing barriers to and
fostering potentials for the full
integration of women in the
development process. The Plan calls on
FAO to intensify its activities in each of
these areas, notably by the systematic
collection of information and
monitoring of trends, by promoting
appropriate policies and by assisting
interested governments. It mandates
FAO to pursue a two-pronged approach
to project assistance, that is on the one
hand through projects that are directed
exclusively at women, and on the other,
to support the concerns of women in all
FAO's projects and activities.

Worldwide, millions of women tend
the fields, look after the crops and the
animals, gather firewood, collect water,
process and market the products and
manage their homes and care for their
families. Now the importance of their
contribution to the development
process is generally recognized. But it
remains to introduce, at all levels,
effective policies and programmes that
can make their contribution more
effective and facilitate their access to
the fruits of their work.
I firmly believe that the active
participation of women can have a
crucial and positive impact on the
social and economic development of
rural societies. It is my sincere wish
that FAO's Plan of Action for the
Integration of Women in Development
give fresh impetus to national and
global endeavours to alleviate women's
sufferings and burdens and to provide
women and men with equal
opportunities and equal rights.




A force for change

Once considered "invisible" in the
agricultural economy, women
constitute an important percentage of
the world's total agricultural labour
force. Even the figures in the chart
greatly underestimate the work done
by women excluding their many
hours of seasonal, part-time and unpaid
labour, and their household activities.
Rural women have many roles: wife,
mother and agricultural producer,
involved in raising livestock, and
growing, harvesting, processing,
marketing and preparing food. They
cultivate subsistence crops for family
consumption and may also work on
cash crop production; or they may be
landless and rely solely on wage
labour. Women are also agricultural
extension workers, production
scientists and sometimes policy-
makers. Regardless of the scenario in
which women work in agriculture their
participation in rural development is

crucial to an adequate food supply.
Women's daily work in agriculture,
fisheries and forestry, as well as in food
processing and marketing, is evidence
of the essential contribution they make
to rural production. Unfortunately,
recognition of their participation has not
always led to their inclusion as project
beneficiaries. Access to productive
resources such as land, credit,
appropriate technology and training has
always been insufficient to enable
women to achieve their full potential.
Since the early 1970s, however, the
issue of women in agricultural
development has gained momentum. It
is now a priority for development
organizations and planners. There is
increasing recognition of the need to
integrate women into mainstream
agricultural development in order to
stimulate the entire agricultural labour
force, both men and women, and to
maximize its output. Women represent

3 Establishment of FAO
O Universal Declaration of Human Rights
r Establishment of the Home Economics and Social Programme Service in FAO
O International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
O International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
O UN Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
O UN Declaration on Social Progress and Development
O International Women's Year and World Conference in Mexico
O FAO Council Resolution 2/66 "Integration of Women in Agricultural and
Rural Development and Nutrition Policies"
0 FAO Conference Resolution 10/75
"The Role of Women in Rural Development"

O United Nations events 1 FAO events A FAO activities


a major force for rural change, a largely the creation of new national and local
untapped resource that could boost rural policies to support their work.
rural economies and lead to higher Many countries are striving to
growth rates and increased food eliminate the legal barriers that have
production. Growing awareness of the prevented women's equal participation
role of women in production as well as and equal benefits by creating
of their wider contribution to social and institutions and organizations
economic development has prompted committed to the advancement of rural
women. With continued evaluation and
analysis of existing policies and
Wolld survey of women .and men, 1985 development plans, women can have
better access to productive resources
and to social services. Along with men,
SJ they can have the opportunity to earn
--o income and participate in making
50.~, o I decisions regarding their communities
I and families.

rce: Ba 1 .. .,:,, .. .. 1 1 1%orld 2 Africa 3 A ia I t, en
ndProjec '"' .. L 4L alm 4meria 5 Carrihean I- _1 I e.
Da ,I. no nrl no c, r I. nrIl, du L i, ,I tl-n'i I rl n'I-In

0 Start of the UN Decade for Women 1976-1985
a Establishment of the FAO Inter-Divisional Working Group on Women in Development
A World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development, Adoption of Declaration
of Principles and Programme of Action
O UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
FAO's Home Economics and Social Programme Service is converted into Women in
Agricultural Production and Rural Development Service
A FAO Committee on Agriculture discusses the "Role of Women in Agricultural Production"
A FAO's Report on the State of Food and Agriculture dedicates a special chapter to
"Women's Participation in Agriculture"
A FAO Near East Regional Experts Meeting on Women in Food Production, Amman
0 FAO Conference Resolution 4/83 requests FAO to monitor programmes that benefit rural
A FAO Expert Consultation on Women in Food Production, Rome


The plan evolves

International Women's Year m 1975,
and the United Nations Decade for
Women that followed, brought world
attention to the critical role of women
in development and gave the impetus
needed for international organizations
and many governments to work for the
elimination of discrimination against
women. In 1985, upon the conclusion of
the Decade for Women, the creation of
the Nairobi Forward-Looking Strategies
promoted specific actions for
broadening women's participation and
equality in development.
Meanwhile, in 1979, delegates of I
145 governments and international
organizations gathered n Rome for
FAO's World Conference on Agrarian Botswana raiee learns tractor-
Reform and Rural Development driving at Agricultural College.
(WCARRD). The Conference adopted
the Declaration of Principles and

A Resolution of the FAO World Conference on Fisheries Management and Development
including women specifically in the Programme of Action for the Development of Small
Scale Fisheries
AFAO Government Consultation on the Role of Women in Food Production and Food
Security in Africa, Harare
-r FAO Regional Conference for Africa includes discussion on rural women
A FAO National Workshops on "The Role of Women in Agriculture and Food Security"
held in Egypt, Sudan and Tunisia
O World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the UN Decade for
Women: Equality, Development and Peace, Nairobi, Kenya. Adoption of the Nairobi
Forward-Looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women (NFLS)
C FAO Conference Resolution 12/85 relating to rural women's problems, especially in the
areas of training and access to inputs and technology
A FAO Regional Conferences are held in Asia and the Pacific, the Near East and Latin
America and the Caribbean. Include discussions on rural women and agriculture
A FAO begins coding projects according to women in development concerns
FAO prepares the chapter "Women in Agriculture" for the UN World Survey on the Role
of Women in Development

O United Nations events O FAO events r FAO activities


Programme of Action specifically
addressed to the participation of
women on an equal basis with men in
rural development. Since the
Conference, FAO's approach to women
in development has focused on the role
of women in agricultural production
and rural development
Each of the above gave impetus to
FAO in framing its own Plan of Action
for the Integration of Women in
Development. The Plan of Action is the
culmination of many years of experience
in this area, reflecting FAO's
commitment to rural women.
Formulated at the request of FAO's
Conference in 1987, the Plan ensures
the systematic incorporation of women
into all programmes and projects of the
Organization. Realizing that the design
and formulation of projects that include
both women and men are crucial to the
success of agricultural development, the
Plan provides the framework and
specific actions for guaranteeing women
their place as both participants and
beneficiaries. In 1988, FAO's Council

unanimously adopted the Plan of Action
and recommended that the Organization
identify priorities and set a timetable for
their implementation. The task of
implementing the Plan is coordinated by
the Women in Agricultural Production
and Rural Development Service of the
Human Resources, Institutions and
Agrarian Reform Division, in
cooperation with FAO's other technical
divisions, with a view to including all
aspects of women in development in
their programmes of work.

O Formulation of the UN System-Wide Medium-Term Plan for Women in Development
(SWMTP) 1990-1995 for implementation of the NFLS, designating FAO as the agency
responsible for all food and agricultural components of the Plan
A FAO prepares the Second Progress Report on WCARRD Programme of Action Including
The Role of Women in Rural Development
A FAO policy paper "Women in Agriculture and Rural Development: FAO's Programme
Directions" is presented to the FAO Conference
1 FAO Conference Resolution 3/87 requesting a plan of action for the integration of
women in development encompassing strategies to ensure that all relevant programmes
of FAO incorporate the recommendations of the Nairobi Forward-Looking Strategies and
the System-Wide Medium-Term Plan
0 FAO Conference Resolution 4/87 requesting a meeting of experts to discuss how to
integrate women into the process of rural development
c FAO Expert Consultation on Experiences of Institutional Changes Concerning Women
in Development, Rome
I FAO Council Resolution 1/94 adopting the Plan of Action for the Integration of Women in
A FAO prepares the chapter "Women, Food Systems and Agriculture" for the update of the
UN World Survey on the Role of Women in Development
I The FAO Plan of Action for the Integration of Women in Development is adopted by the
FAO Conference


Integrating women into development

The Plan of Action for the Integration of
Women in Development embodies
FAO's policies and programmes to
improve the lives of rural women. It is
based on the Organization's
commitment to the Nairobi Forward-
Looking Strategies, which is a pledge
by the UN Member Governments to
take concrete steps by the year 2000 to
eliminate all political, economic, social
and cultural for ms of sex-based
Focusing specifically on agriculture,
food and rural development, including
fisheries and forestry, the Plan of
Action outlines three principal areas of
O Gathering statistical data and
research studies on all issues
related to women in agricultural
development, and ensuring FAO's
ability to monitor the status of
these issues in the field;
0 Advising policy makers on
women in agricultural development
at both the international and
national levels;
C Assisting in implementing
women in agricultural development
projects and programmes, and in
mobilizing the necessary resources.
The Plan recognizes that women
already make a crucial contribution to
agricultural production. It is dedicated
to enhancing their participation
through projects and programmes that
systematically bring women into the
mainstream of development activities
and national lfe. Within this
framework, future activities will give
greater recognition to women's special
needs for income-producing activities
and control of income, educational and
training opportunities, and
technologies and other means to ease
the burden and increase the
productivity of women's work.

FAO's two-pronged approach to
women's projects and programmes

FAO takes a two-pronged approach to
women in development, that is
reiterated in the Plan of Action: first,
the implementation of projects and
programmes oriented exclusively to
women (women-specific projects and
programmes) and, second, the
promotion of the integration of
women's issues and of women as
participants in all of FAO's projects and
activities (mainstream programmes and
FAO recognizes the necessity of
women-specific projects under certain
circumstances: where "women-only"
projects can serve as demonstrations to
encourage national governments to
include women in their mainstream
projects; where cultural factors prevent
women from working alongside men; or
where rural women have been generally
neglected. However, the success of
"women-only" projects is often
constrained by small budgets, low
government priority, a lack of skilled
project staff and concentration on
marginal enterprises. Therefore, while
the Plan incorporates both approaches,
every effort will be given to including
both men and women as full
participants in mainstream projects.
Role of Member Governments
In adopting the Plan, FAO's Council
requested that Member Governments
make all possible efforts to contribute
to its implementation. It is evident that
without the interest and commitment
of governments, the actions envisaged
in the Plan cannot succeed.
Comprehensive policy designs,
programme and project planning,
implementation and evaluation, as well
as legislation related to women's
issues, are requisites at the national
level for the Plan's success. In line with


its mandate, FAO stands ready and eager
to assist Member Governments in the
realization of greater participation and
greater equality for rural women.
The four spheres
The Plan revolves around four spheres -
civil status, economic, social and
decision-making. They are selected
on the basis of FAO's long experience in
working with women in developing
countries and with Member Governments.

Each sphere contains its own strategy
for increasing women's status at all
levels of society- household,
community, national and international.
Within each sphere, numerous actions
are presented that FAO envisages as
essential to the Plan's Implementation.
Because not all actions can be carried
out simultaneously, priorities have
been determined and are presented
on page 34.

Seeks to improve the legal and attitudinal climate to permit women to contribute to
and benefit from agricultural and rural development and increased food production

Seeks to enhance the role of women as producers in agriculture, fisheries and
forestry and to recognize the need for access to resources, extension training
services, and technologies that increase their productivity

Seeks to emphasize the interdependence of population, nutrition and education on
agricultural productivity and to integrate these aspects into field projects; to
improve the access of rural women to education and social services that will ease
their domestic workload; and to increase the ability of women to participate more
fully in agricultural production and professions

Seeks to increase women's involvement in decision-making through greater
participation in institutions and people's organizations and to train women in the
skills needed to play a greater role in national and local level policy-making in
relation to agricultural production, extension services and land reform


A foundation for women's progress

Adopted in 1979 by the UN General
Assembly, the Convention on the
Elimination of all Forms of
Discrimination against Women has
been a milestone in encouraging
governments to enact legislation to
improve conditions for women. As of
1989, two-thirds of the UN Member
Nations had ratified the Convention,
contributing toward the goal of overall
equality by the year 2000. The
principles laid out in the Convention
are basic to FAO's Plan of Action for
enhancing women's legal status.
Almost all countries represented at
the World Conference of the
International Women's Year in 1975,
and the subsequent women's
conferences in Copenhagen in 1980 and
Nairobi in 1985, have established
governmental bodies responsible for
the promotion of women. In some
cases, these agencies have contributed
to increasing the awareness of their
governments regarding the needs of
rural women, and have been
instrumental in the creation of specific
legislation on land rights, inheritance
and rural wage rates. The degree of
their success, however, is usually
linked to the closeness of their
affiliation with ministries of agriculture,
whereby programmes and projects for
rural women can benefit from an
already existing network of regional
and local offices and a high level of
technical expertise.
The legal issues important to
women in developing nations, as
everywhere, include constitutional
issues (equality, civil rights and
political tights), economic issues
(credit, ownership of property and
inheritance), labour issues (wages,
maternity benefits and employment
opportunities), family relations
(marriage, divorce and reproduction),
health care (health entitlements and

family planning), and so on.
Unfortunately, the civil status of women
in many countries is such that women
are constrained from full participation
in the benefits of development.
With respect to women and
agricultural development, the impact of
laws regarding agrarian reforms, land
rights, and access to credit and training
are particularly important. There are
two major trends, often interrelated,
that are particularly pressing: women's
lack of land rights and the increasing
number of women heads of households.
Lack of access to land remains a
major obstacle to the full participation
of women in rural development. FAO
studies show that women tend to lose
out in most land reform programmes.
For example, in Latin America, many

w V~n

in -inJ



72 Lesotho
40 Sierra Leone
30 %salal\i

21 tlalalia
19 'ri lanLa
17 Indonesia

34 Jamaica

23 Peru
Latin America,
Carribean 22 Hondura

15 %forocco
14 Stri

Near East 9 runi," a
Source Based on Population censuss for Selected
:ountrles. 987l and US Bureaui of the Census


agrarian reform laws continue to
exclude women. Land is awarded to a
"family head", traditionally a man. In
some cases a widow cannot inherit her
husband's land without written
agreement from his other heirs.
Throughout most of Africa, customary
rules that are not necessarily enforced
through a judicial system, but
nevertheless have considerable
authority, also tend to favour men in
land rights. In other regions, religious
beliefs are the pnmary influence that
result in laws that deny women full
land rights or from working with men
who are not family members.
Similarly, the introduction of new
technologies such as urigation systems
has reduced women's access to land
and limited their independent farming
roles. The basic problem is that as land
is improved and its value increases,
there is a move from traditional
communal use rights to a more
individualized system of land
ownership. Men, by virtue of their
position as household heads, tend to
extend personal control over the land,
squeezing out women. Inheiitance
practices, whereby land passes from
father to son, reinforce male control of
land, often depriving even widows with
young children of rights to land.
The difficulties women have in
securing land are even more serious for
women heads of households. In
reviewing land reform programmes in
vanous counties, FAO has found that
regardless of whether the sex of the
beneficiary is specified in the law,
women heads of households seldom
have access to land even when their
productive activities call for it.
Therefore, the growing number of
women heads of households includes a
growing number of landless women.
Forty to fifty percent of all households
in small, rural villages in the English-
speaking countries of the Caribbean
are headed by women; in parts of
Africa, 30 to 60 percent of households
are headed by women (either because
husbands are away or they have no

husbands); and in the Near East, it is
estimated that women head 1 in every
6 households. Without title to land,
these women lack the collateral
necessary to obtain credit, extension
and training.

S to I t j i "I -' i
\ ,, , ,

cultivated area %female-headed %male-headed
.hectares) households households
< 0,50 35 19
0,50so-o0,99 to 37 29
1,00-1,49 16 20
S1,50-1,99 7 12
2,00-2,99 4 13
"" -.-- -
total 100oo 100 100
e Government ot Malawi and UNICEF, 1987
Female-headed households typically
raie smaller holdings than those headed by males.

Fortunately, in some countries,
major policy changes on agrarian
reform have defined women as
beneficiaries, granting them the right
to own land either separately or jointly
with men. Some examples of countries
where government agencies for
women have been successful in this
issue are Colombia, India, Malawi and
Mexico. In addition, FAO has assisted
the governments of Brazil, Costa Rica
and Peru in drafting national plans for
rural women. However, more attention
must be given to improving women's
legal access to both land and
resources. The elimination of legal and
attitudinal discrimination against
women will further facilitate any plan
to increase agricultural productivity.




Some achievements

1980 1985: The Second Five-Year Plan
includes support for the creation of
special cooperatives for the landless
and for women to provide them with
skill-training, credit, and income-
generating activities in both the farm
and non-farm sectors.
1988: A new constitution states that
land distribution will be equitable and
that land titles will be awarded to both
women and men.
1983-1988: More than 95 percent of
women's federations at the county level
set up legal advisory agencies to
provide services for women.
1988: Agrarian reform legislation is
revised to allow women and women
heads of household access to land
ownership; previously, only male heads
of household were eligible.
1980: The National Women's Bureau
and the National Women's Council are
established by an act of Parliament.


'> Brazil

jordan India China


Sri Lanka Indone

1976: The Equal Remuneration Act
provides for equal wages to be paid to
men and women workers and for the
prevention of discrimination against
women in employment.
1984 1989: The development plan,
Repelita IV, has a package of action
programmes for lower income women,
including supports for farming, rural
development, cooperatives and family
1986 -1990: The Five-Year Plan for
Economic and Social Development
proposes for rural women the
"expansion of agricultural extension
programmes, combined with
population and family planning
programmes to upgrade women's
capabilities in agricultural work and
home management".
1981: New legislation specifies that
women should have the right to benefit
from agrarian reform policies and
participate in agricultural cooperatives.
The Philippines
1987-1992: The Philippine
Development Plan for Women is
prepared to ensure that women
participate on an equal basis with men.
Sri Lanka
1980r. If ri Th^TAr lUV1II nn r1TtC il Acr

I3O0 r. Z V111vt UtVtjlU lCll.lU .UU.JlJo 0Z.,b
makes provision for the representation
of women's rural development societies
Philippines in local-level planning institutions.

1982 2001: A long-term Women's
Development Plan is established.

Source: WCARRD, Ten Years of Follow-Up. The Impact of
Development Strategies on the Rural Poor, FAO, 1988 and
ia accompanying progress reports submitted by countries.


I :


Strategy for action

FAO's strategy for improving the civil
status of women complies with the
principles of the UN Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination Against Women. The
convention specifically addresses rural
women's rights to participate in
development planning; to secure
agricultural credit; to receive training,
education and health care; to join
cooperatives and other rural
organizations; and to enjoy adequate
living conditions.




Bangladesh Discussing the accounts at a
women's village cooperative meeting.


Assistance to governments in identifying areas that require
improved legislation for women, particularly in :
J Right to land and water
0 Access to credit
D Right to new technologies
D Full membership and equal voting rights in

Promoting the exchange of experience among governments
in the application of improved legislation for women

Educating rural women on existing rights

Publication of case studies regarding the legal
status of women

Producing publications and radio programmes profiling
successful women in various agricultural professions


Increasing the income of women

Recognition of the role of wome
agriculture is important to deve
countries where the concern is
rural economies and sustain ad
food supplies. T ne major thrust
FAO's activities will continue to
directed to supporting women i
roles as agriculturalists. The fac
that exclude women farmers an
entrepreneurs from productive
resources and services are und

Table does not include contribute
children which would bring total



Agriculture _





Profit from

Wages and

C %Women 1 %Men Activity


SOoUr e: Based on Worid B.a
W'o rking 'aper n.526, 1982

-n in Structural adjustment policies
loping Many developing countries seek to
to boost improve their national economies
equate through structural adjustment
of programmes that involve changes in
be fiscal, monetary, exchange-rate, and
n their commercial or industrial policies. Such
;tors changes, which previously had been
d assumed to be gender neutral, can in
fact further impoverish poor rural and
er urban people, particularly women and
children, in the short and/or long term.
For example, structural adjustment
policies have caused cut-backs in social
spending on health and education in
ion of many countries, and the education of
s to 100%
girls has declined in some places.
Between 1980 and 1984, spending per
capital on health fell in over 60 percent
of the countries in Latin America while
in Africa, between 1979 and 1983, it fell
in seven out of 15 countries, and in four
out of 12 countries in South and East
Asia. Both FAO and UNICEF
publications on this subject have
sensitized international opinion to such
negative effects.
In many cases, structural
adjustment includes policies that
encourage farmers to increase
production of crops for export, such as
coffee or cotton. With this change of
emphasis, women's land that was
previously cultivated for food crops
may be alienated and as a result,
women can lose both food resources
85 and income. In cases where women
already help produce cash crops as
well as household food crops, an
increase in cash crop production may
mean they have less time and energy
to grow and prepare food for their
On the positive side, measures
designed to expand agricultural output
can lead to increases in employment
nk staff and credit opportunities. In some
cases, women earn incomes by


producing or processing cash crops,
either alone, with their husbands, or as
wage labourers. The extent to wtucth
women can benefit from these
opportunities depends, however, on
how policies impact on the sexual
division of labour, whether women can
exercise control over the income earned,
and the degree of legal protection of
women and men from exploitation. FAO,
together with other technical agencies of
the United Nations, is collaborating with
the World Bank in a project designed to
identify the unforseen negative effects
of structural adjustment programmes
and to investigate and support ways to
reduce them


Division of labour in crop production
A starting point for determining the
extent of women's participation in
agriculture is the sexual division of
labour. In many cases women are
primarily responsible for weeding,
harvesting, transporting, storing,
processing and marketing, but they
often contribute greatly to ploughing,
planting and fertilizer application as
well. In some countries the sexual
division of labour is according to type of
crop. In other cases men and women
have complementary labour roles for the
same crop. Clearly, the agricultural
activities of women and men vary
according to region, the structure of the
household, and the productive
resources available. (See the charts for
examples from Nepal and Sudan.) With
greater intensification of agriculture, the
rural workload tends to increase, hence
the need for projects that lessen the
labour input of women and men while
maximizing productivity.

--. -: L : I._ :
sector i .

Clearing the fields
and stumping

Turning the soil

Sowing and





Sale in market

Care of crops

Harvest of cro

Keeps money
from sale
S% Women

I I' ~.1



PS 18

% Men

Source: Based on Ministry of Youth, Sports and Social Welfare, Sudan, FAO 1984
Though women contribute a higher percentage of labour
than men, they receive less than 25% of the income earned

Women in cash crop production
Decisions to change the crops that are
grown, whether for domestic
consumption or export, can greatly
affect the workload of women. The two
main issues for women in cash
cropping are first, the competition it
presents for the labour and land that
would otherwise be devoted to
producing food, and second, their
ability to ensure that the profits are
drawn upon to meet basic household
needs. Just because women have
traditionally grown food crops, does
not necessarily mean they have no
interest in producing their own cash


crops. If a cash crop yields a higher
return than a subsistence food crop,
women will seek access to that crop.
Women already play a greater part in
cash crop production than is commonly
recognized. In Rwanda, for example,
women do about 70 percent of the
work involved in coffee production. In
a number of countries women are paid
in cash or kind for assisting their
husbands with cash crops.
Women's ownership and control of
livestock and their products are an
important economic resource.
Sometimes, it is assumed that women
tend only small animals while men own
and care for large livestock. But this
division of labour should not be taken
for granted. In some places women
own cattle, and in many others women
milk and take care of the animals. In
Pakistan, for example, women are
responsible for 60 to 80 percent of the
feeding and milking of cattle. Moreover,
where large animals are penned and
fed, caring for them becomes a
domestic matter changing from a
situation where men and boys are in
charge of herding to one in which
women and children of both sexes
must do the work. Poultry and animals
such as sheep, goats, rabbits and
guinea pigs, are important to women
because they are often the only source
of income fully under their control. In
Egypt, as in many other countries,
women are responsible for raising
nearly all of the goats and poultry. FAO
finds that poultry and small animals
raised by women often make a greater
contribution to the diet of low income
groups than do cattle. The problem is
that few livestock extension
programmes include women.

Benin Counting up the day's receipts
at a women's cooperative.

The depletion of forest resources has
had a substantial impact on women in
three ways:
O Trees are necessary to protect
the quality of soil and water and to
manage them as productive
resources. Most tropical farming
systems are unsustainable without
trees as part of the system. When
farmland and water are not
available close to households, or
when larger gardens and longer
waits at the well are required, this
can greatly increase the time
women spend on this task.
O Forests provide food, fodder, fibre
and the fuel for cooking and
processing food. These are
products for which women are
largely responsible.
I Small-scale enterprises
dependent on forest products are
among the major employers of rural
people, especially the landless and
the land-poor. Women are heavily
dependent on such enterprises and
in some countries (such as Egypt)
are their managers.
Forestry services are now focusing on
supporting people's efforts to
incorporate trees into their living areas
and farming systems as well as on


integrating agriculture in forested
areas. They are finding it important to
learn from women how they as
managers of trees and forest resources
can be supported so as to have better
and sustainable access to the forest
products and outputs they need.
Women often engage in fish processing
and marketing m small-scale fisheries
either directly or in cooperation with
men. In Ghana, smoking, salting,
drying and marketing of fish is typically
done by women, who process and
distribute 60 to 90 percent of both farm
and marine produce. Reports presented
at the FAO workshop in 1987 on
Women in Aquaculture estimated that
20 000 women in the Philippines and
43 000 women in Thailand were
involved in fish farming as well as in
fish handling and sales. These figures
imply the need to support women's
participation through training and
projects. To this end, FAO has
developed a new manual. Women in
Fishing Communities: Guidelines, that
focuses on women and fish production,
processing and marketing, as well as
on the relevant organizational,
technical and financial supports.
Food processing
Rural women process foods, especially
for family consumption, with few or no
modern aids. Typical work includes
cleaning, threshing and grinding grams
or drying fish, and making cheeses or
yoghurt. In some parts of the world, the
village women share these tasks. Even
so, it can take hours to process grains
for cooking. For example, in one North
African country, it was estimated that
women spent four hours a day grinding
wheat for couscous. A target of many
FAO projects is to upgrade traditional
food processing without resorting to
expensive technology. Tangible results
have been achieved in food processing
at the village level, including drying
perishables and milling grains. In
Burkina Faso and Ghana, improved
technologies for drying fruits,

vegetables and root crops have
reduced the losses resulting from
seasonal gluts. In Burundi, over 100
women have been trained to use
machines for processing cassava into
gari for local consumption.
Farming systems and gender analysis
Most farms in developing countries are
small, with few resources other than
family labour. To analyse small farm
problems and development
opportunities, farming systems
development treats all aspects of the
farm and household economy as a
system, including on-farm activities
(crops, livestock, trees, fish), off-farm
activities (marketing, wage
employment) and household activities.
Combining gender analysis (an
analysis of men's and women's roles m
relation to each other) and farming
systems development, provides a
framework for examining household
and individual resource allocations on
farms and the constraints to
production. In many countries, men
concentrate on income-generating
work (both on and off the farm), while
women typically combine work to
produce income with agricultural
production, household tasks and child
care. These competing demands on
their time can serve as a significant
constraint to the adoption of new forms
of production that rely on women's
labour. Such issues can be readily
explored through farming systems
development, which combines analysis
and planning in extension, training,
research and policy. The work situation
of small farmers is analysed and new
technologies are tested and refined as
FAO offers training courses on
farming systems development and
collaborates with governments in using
it to identify small farm constraints to
production. Present projects are in
Latin America, Asia and Africa. The
Plan of Action urges that gender
analysis (see page 34) be integrated
with FAO's farming systems
development training and projects.


This will facilitate a better
understanding of the role of women in
agricultural production as well as of
their activities not generally defined as
'production" that are nevertheless
essential to the well-being and
economic livelihood of rural households
and communities.
Male migration
In a number of developing nations the
trend of male migration is growing.
Men migrate from their villages to
cities and even to other countries in
search of employment. The effect of
this on women depends in part on the
length of absence. In Latin America
and Africa, there is both seasonal
migration and long-term migration.
Long-term migration can mean that
women are left on small farms alone
with their children for years. The rate
of seasonal migration can be very high,
particularly in Africa. In one country of
southern Africa, FAO reports that 63
percent of the households are headed
by women because of male migration.
These women must take on many
additional tasks, greatly increasing
their workload. With fewer men in the
community, the demand on women for
labour reduces the time available for
domestic responsibilities, particularly
for growing crops essential to the
family diet.

Because most women lack collateral,
such as land, they usually have little
access to credit. In many cases they
must rely on their husbands and other
relatives, or on money-lenders who
often charge high interest rates.
Women seek credit, for example, in
order to purchase land, tools and
fertilizer, or to start a new marketing
scheme. Sources of finance for women
farmers are clearly needed, but banks
have tended to underestimate the
productivity of women farmers and

their ability to repay loans. Studies by
FAO and others show that repayment
rates by women's groups have been
excellent. Loans for women's groups
may also have the added advantage of
reaching the poorest women who as
individuals would be ineligible.
Progress is being made as, for example,
in Bangladesh, where over 8 000
women's groups have been organized
into credit and marketing cooperatives
since 1987. In Africa, an FAO study of
21 credit schemes concluded that in
order to make credit more useful to
women, loan packages, particularly
those aimed at female-headed
households, should include financing
for labour for land preparation. In most
schemes, no such provisions exist.
Rural women generally have poor
access to agricultural information and
services. One FAO study found that
women represented up to 80 percent
of the food producers in some
countries, but they received only 2 to
10 percent of the extension contacts.
Extension personnel, both male and
female, tend to overlook the needs of
women farmers. For example,
agricultural training is often focused on
improving export crops, where male
farmers predominate, whereas training
with respect to subsistence crops and
small livestock, where women farmers
predominate, is less prominent.
In some parts of the world,
constraints prevent male extension
workers from interacting with women,
and recruiting women extensionists is
difficult. It may be possible, however,
to use new methods to recruit women
extensionists and for male
extensionists to work with women in
groups. Some countries, including the
Philippines, Thailand, Lesotho and
Egypt, have made great strides in
training female extension workers as a
means of reaching women farmers. In
Malawi and Burkina Faso, male
extensionists receive specific guidance
on working with women farmers.


7'Jr access to Tlij, at the r-:_ L .-. il i. il il j. .,r

1985 1986

i.'.._I '* -jg .*' ~ ~~ _

1 "1

S% Women -%Men Value in pesos--

Women L- %Men Value in pesos








Source: Based on Rural Women in Latin America: Rural Development,
Migration, Land and Legislation. FAO, 1987, Santiago, Chile

Though women' access to credit has increased slightly between 1985 and 1986, their
share continues to drop in higher value ranges, whereas mens' share continues to increase

Most training programmes for women
still emphasize domestic skills rather
than agricultural skils though both are
relevant and need to be combined.

The primary objective of new
agricultural technologies (such as crop
varieties, new breeds of livestock,
improved tools, cultivation methods
and techniques and/or mechanization
practices) is to save time and increase
efficiency without threatening women's
and men's jobs in farming. Irrigation
technology, for example, can increase
crop production and make more water
available to households and livestock.
This greatly reduces the time women
spend collecting water. In Tanzania, for
example, an irrigation project reduced
by half the time spent on fetching
water thereby releasing sufficient
labour to increase the area cropped by
20 percent. On the other hand, some
irrigation methods can affect women
negatively because they increase the
time needed to transplant crops, weed
and harvest.

All over the world women are active in
retail trading and marketing.
Generally, the participation is greatest
where trade is traditional and not
highly commercialzed or
industrialized. With the rapid increase
in urbanization, women have been
quick to respond to the markets
created for their produce. In much of
Asia, women market foods such as
vegetables; in West Africa they
distribute most major commodities, and
in the Caribbean women account for
nearly all local marketing. Through
their marketing efforts women are able
to raise family incomes and provide
valuable linkages between farms,
consumer goods and buyers. Improved
access to credit as well as to
transportation and enhanced
marketing facilities would greatly aid
these women. Providing more
information on production and sales
and existing market infrastructure,
could help meet the specific needs of
women producers and traders.


Some achievements

Reflecting the diversity of women's
economic development activities. FAO's
efforts to support women include
workshops, manuals and extension
training as well as field projects. A few
examples are highlighted below.


Learning from rural women
Learning from already successful rural
women is the idea behind a training
manual, produced by FAO in 1985, to
promote women's group marketing
activities at the village level. Its goal is
to improve their agricultural marketing
skills by organizing them into groups to
be trained by women who are already
successful. Governments can play a
key role in initiating training
workshops for women and in providing
assistance to them. The manual has
been used in workshops throughout
Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.
Production is only half the battle
Spoilage and loss threaten crops
between harvesting and their arrival at
the market. With appropriate
packaging, proper handling and
transport, and adequate storage
facilities, produce will arrive at the
market fresh and ready for purchase.
A manual, prepared m 1988 under a
FAO project, offers a comprehensive
training course for extension workers,
groLps and individuals in marketing
fresh produce.
Giving women access to credit in
An FAO project is investigating how to
remove the constraints that prevent
women from participating effectively in
agriculture. In 1988, a savings and
credit scheme was introduced in
collaboration with a financing

institution. Farmer groups, consisting
of 80 percent women, receive intensive
training in crop selection, methods of
planting and cultivation, fertilizer
application and harvesting. In addition,
they receive training in group
dynamics, participatory production
planning, group record keeping and
evaluation of the previous season's
production and activities. After two
years of training, farmers who develop
the necessary production and book-
keeping skills are eligible for credit.
Improving agricultural extension
services for women in rural Africa
Agricultural training and extension has
failed to reach and benefit many of
Africa's women farmers, even though
they dominate the production of food
for domestic consumption. The need to
review past experience in extension
programmes and to identify their
constraints has prompted case studies
in Kenya, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Zambia
and Zimbabwe.
Under FAO leadership, a workshop
was held at which governmental and
non-governmental representatives from
the five countries met to discuss the
studies, visit rural women's groups and
make recommendations to government
and international agencies. One result
has been a change in Malawi's
agricultural extension policy which
now aims to "meet the needs and
aspirations of all male and female
smallholder farmers," rather than
simply "farmers". Future plans include
the revision of extension curricula, so
that training programmes are geared to
the specific needs of both men and
Promoting women's role in food
production in Egypt
FAO sponsors a training program in six
rural villages of Egypt that helps
women organize into groups for
collective action. The project goals are
to increase food security and women's
income-generating opportunities. In
1988 and early 1989, 300 women
learned about drying, freezing and
preserving fruits and vegetables, and


436 women used the new revolving
loan fund to purchase sheep, goats,
rabbits, ducks, chickens and turkeys.
Future activities include increased
training in food production
technologies and expanded credit
programmes. FAO also is looking for
ways to replicate this project in other


A success story in sheep production
In some traditional societies, individual
women are not allowed to own sheep.
Yet, sheep can provide women with a
substantial and much-needed income,
as well as a source of food and security
in time of crisis. The Kara region of
North Togo found the answer: if
women were organized into groups,
they could own and look after their own
flocks of sheep. Women learn basic
animal husbandry, feeding, veterinary
care and breeding. They keep records
and do their own economic planning.
Contracts are used to obtain
equipment, loans, and services, and to
sell the animals in a region where
small animal production has been
characterized by low productivity and
high mortality, these women increased
their flock productivity fourfold. The
lessons learned in this project form the
basis for a new FAO training manual
for extension workers on village-based
sheep production.
Dairy development provides women
with income
In 1985, FAO carried out surveys in
Tanzania to identify suitable villages
for the establishment of Dairy
Development Training Units. One aim
of the project is to bring together
women to participate in dairy
cooperatives. Tanzania has a long-
standing cooperative movement,
though the number of cooperatives
involved with dairy activities is low,
and women traditionally have played
only a limited role. One new dairy

Ethiopia Camel owner treating herd
against mange by scrubbing them with
dip solution.

cooperative, the Nronga Cooperative
Society, has a unit of women that has
increased its milk production from 200
to 520 litres per day. Another, the
Losaa Women's Cooperative, markets
its own cheese to hotels and local
restaurants. The group has increased
its milk production from 90 litres of
milk per day, to over 167 litres per day.
Learning to make cheese has enabled
them to preserve milk that otherwise
would spoil.
FAO has also promoted improved
fodder and milk production among
existing women's groups in two
districts of Kenya, since 1985. An irutial
survey showed that milk yields were
generally low because natural pastures
were the only source of fodder, and
that standards of animal husbandry
were poor. As a result, women are
taken to a Dairy Training School to
learn about the planting of various
fodder crops. They are then given their
own plots to cultivate, supported by
demonstrations on fodder conservation
and silage-making. FAO and the
Regional Dairy Institute supply the
seeds and train the extension workers.



Increasing women's access to fertilizers
in Sri Lanka
Faced with a rising population, Sri
Lanka needs to make full use of the
arable land available for crop production
through the application of fertilizers and
improved farming methods. Women in
Sri Lanka have been engaged Ln
agriculture for decades, though only
recently has their importance started to
be recognized. In disseminating
infor mat ion, removing some traditional
beliefs and increasing farmers' access to
fertilizers, the government is realizing
the substantial contribution women
make to food production and the value
of fertilizer to them
The FAO-assisted "Farm Women's
Agricultural Extension Programme" is
training female extension workers and
village leaders to encourage a greater
use of fertilizer and improved seeds by
women. In addition, the FAO Fertilizer
Programme, in collaboration with the
National Fertilizer Secretariat of Sri
Lanka, is training fertilizer dealers to
advise women farmers on how to make
the best use of fertilizers that they buy.
More than half of the fertilizer dealers
trained since 1984 have been women.


Women in irrigated agriculture in
To ensure that investments in irrigated
agriculture benefit farmers of both
sexes, FAO has started a pilot project
linked to an irrigation project covering
six villages. The project examines the
parts played by individual family
members, particularly women, in
existing farming systems and identifies
obstacles to their participation in
irrigation improvement, development
and management. Village women have
formed groups through which their

problems can be discussed and
resolved. Village workshops and field
visits ensure a wider acceptance of
women's participation in irrigation and
awareness of their productive
capabilities. Both the national
counterpart and the planning officer
have received training in gender issues.


Fish processing and community
development in Sierra Leone
Throughout the area of Shenge, fishing
is the main economic activity. While the
men fish, the women process and
market the catch, make salt, soap and
oil, and engage in subsistence
agriculture. An FAO project is training
women in order to ensure that the fish
catch reaches consumers with as little
loss as possible in either quantity or
quality. Objectives include establishing
an effective system that will enable
women to increase their income-
earning capacity as well as to improve
the health and hygiene of their
Aquaculture for Local Community
Development Programme (ALCOM)
The FAO workshop on "Women in
Aquaculture", held in 1987, helped to
show the substantial involvement of
women in fish farming. ALCOM, a
collaborative programme including
FAO, is conducting pilot studies on
combining aquaculture with agriculture
in Southern Africa. The initial pilot
activity in the Chipata area of Zambia
has identified three villages where the
population includes many female-
headed households. The project
activities, such as building ponds and
improving harvesting methods, are
decided in consultation with the local
women who are frequently the real fish
farmers. Additional studies are being
conducted in Zimbabwe, Mozambique
and Lesotho.


Burundi Women predominate at
central fish market.

Improved living conditions of
fisherwomen and their families in the
Bay of Bengal
The FAO project to develop small-scale
fishing in the Bay of Bengal, initiated in
1979, was expanded in 1987.
Meanwhile, the number of women
participating increased greatly and the
project was strengthened to deal with
their concerns. In 1988, an FAO nussion
to the Bay confirmed that when
fisherwomen have increased incomes
and better access to health education
and care, the quality of life in their
communities improves. The mission
also found that the women were
encouraged to have smaller families
(an important development concern in
the region). The project helps women
organize themselves to resolve their
problems and through their
entrepreneurial skills identify ways of
earning incomes that will ensure
access to credit and savings schemes.
Programmes are also being developed
to give women greater access to health
care and family planning.



Rural women in Nepal take the
initiative in protecting forests
in Nepal, women are the main
collectors of fuelwood and animal
fodder and grasses used for grazing,
and their constant need for these
resources has caused widespread
degradation of forest areas. In an effort
to conserve and regenerate these forest
resources, FAO in cooperation with the
Makwanpur District Forest Controller
selected 25 hectares of severely
degraded forest for a reforestation
programme. Rather than clear away
existing shrubbery, strips two metres
wide were cleared for new trees with
the help of 100 local men and women.
The women were still able to collect
fodder, but they were prevented from
cutting trees or grazing animals in the
area. As the existing shrubbery started
to regenerate, the community began to
see the importance of protective
management in the conservation of
natural resources.
A Forest Management Committee
was formed and women proved to be
its most energetic members. In one
case, a group of women took the
initiative to expand the protected area,
tripling the total number of hectares m
the project. Within a year, the natural
vegetation grew over 3 metres high,
containing more than 20 different tree
species. The women demonstrated
their interest and commitment in
conserving and managing these vital
Women help create 11 000 hectares of
new forest land on Cape Verde
On Cape Verde's islands of Santiago
and Maio, FAO is helping the
government set up a forest service.
Activities include forestry training, tree
planting, and the management and
utilization of plantations. One of the
most impressive achievements of the
project is the creation in ten years of
11 000 hectares of new forest


plantations which combat
desertification, conserve land and
water and provide different products to
local communities. Women have taken
a direct part in this. Of the 4 000
workers employed annually to
establish nurseries, plant trees, and
undertake soil conservation work, 70 to
80 percent are women.
Women fight the encroachment of sand
dunes in Mauritania
In an area where women have few
opportunities to work, and cultural
traditions usually prevent their
participation in projects, some women
in Mauritania have engaged in their
own battle against the sand dunes.
FAO is assisting the Department for
the Protection of the Environment with
the National Plan to combat
desertification. The project has
introduced mechanical stabilization
and biological fixation to protect
villages, roads, schools, and fields from
sand dunes. Unable to take part in the
project's activities, the women's
producer cooperatives have

spontaneously asked for help to
establish their own nurseries so that
they can grow trees to protect their
villages and fields.
Men and women participate in
watershed management in Bolivia
In the Tarija Valley m southern Bolivia,
men's and women's associations have
joined together to save their soils and
forests. A watershed management
project was started im 1984 in
conjunction with the Bolivian
Government because of severe erosion
and overgrazing. Local men and
women voluntarily carry out the tasks
of land preparation, planting and
weeding. Whether working together or
separately on joint projects, they are
actively restoring their forest resources
as well as conserving the soil needed
for their farms.

Thailand Worker taps rubber tree.


Strategy for action

FAO's action programme seeks to
maximize the access of women to
productive resources in order to
expand their economic opportunities
and ensure equal participation in and
benefits from rural development.

The strategies cover: income control
and economic adjustment; agricultural
production; food processing and
marketing; wage employment and
income-producing activities.







Study the effect of the economic crisis and structural
adjustment on women
Promote income-producing activities for women
Study women's participation in agricultural labour markets

Assist countries in assessing the impact on women of male
migration, seasonal fluctuations in labour markets, and wage
trends where women and men receive unequal pay
Support women in the informal sector through income-
production projects

Help countries to re-orient agricultural extension systems to
include women's concerns
Assist governments and financial institutions to create credit
sources for women
Promote the generation, improvement and transfer to women
of appropriate technologies
Include gender and household issues in farming systems
Address women's needs in forestry and fisheries
Ensure the participation and training of women in irrigation
Assess the participation of women in cash crop production
Extend horticultural activities to women
Promote involvement in livestock production

Increase women's access to improved techniques and
technologies in food harvesting, processing, storage and
transportation to markets
Promote women's participation in marketing organizations
Improve women's access to credit
Strengthen the capacity of national agencies to train women
in improved marketing practices


Easing women's daily burden

The multiple roles of rural women,
having both domestic and agricultural
responsibilities, means that they often
have a long working day. Various
studies put the ordinary daily workload
of rural women in developing nations
at 15-16 hours. At seasonal peak
periods such as harvesting it may be
much longer. Rudimentary utensils and
procedures for food preparation, and
scarcity of nearby sources of fuel and
clean water, make their household
tasks more time-consuming and
laborious. Full participation of women
in economic development programmes
is hampered by a lack of time and
energy. For FAO, three issues emerge
as key to easing women's daily burden:
population, nutrition and education.

The interaction of population growth,
rural-urban migration, fanmly size and
rural women's roles as both cluld
bearers and agricultural producers is
increasingly recognized as fundamental
to food supply and demand. In many
nations, food production has not kept
pace with population growth. Solutions
to this problem must address both
supply (through increasing agricultural
output) and demand (through effective
national population policies). One
approach is through acknowledging the
contribution of women to rural
development and by designing
programmes aimed at maximizing their
productive capacity. When such
programmes also succeed in improving
women's physical and social status and
reducing the infant mortality rate, they
will ultimately contribute to reducing
population growth. FAO studies show
that this effect will occur sooner, and be
more pronounced, when specific
population components are part of rural
development projects in which women

Although women play a major role in
food production and processing, they
suffer from inadequate nutrition. Only
20 to 45 percent of women of child-
bearing age in the developing world
have a daily diet of 2 250 calories as
recommended by the World Health
Organization, let alone the extra 285
calories per day needed during
pregnancy. In some nations, women
and girls eat the least. Research in
Bangladesh, reported by the United
Nations Fund for Population
Activities, has found that boys under 5
years old are given 16 percent more
food than girls of the same age, while a
study in India found that boys are fed
far more fatty and milky food than girls.
In the same study, girls are 4 times as
likely to suffer from acute malnutrition,
but 40 times less likely to be taken to a
hospital. FAO is attempting to remove
these inequalities through the
incorporation of nutritional
considerations into planning and
project design and through the creation
of more income-earning activities for
women. It has been found that as the
incomes of women increase, they spend
more on nutritious food.
A healthy diet also depends on
clean water and adequate fuel. Lack of
clean water leads to diseases that kill
an estimated 8 million children
annually. Water-borne diseases also
debilitate many agricultural workers. In
most developing nations it is still the
arduous task of women to carry both
water and fuelwood to their homes. The
fuelwood shortage in Bangladesh is so
severe that rural women and children
spend an average of 3 to 5 hours a day
gathering and transporting fuel.
Fuelwood shortages can result in
changes in cooking habits that decrease
nutrition, such as reducing food
preparation to only one meal per day.


Averai minutes per i.f- i- in rT7i7-e activities
in ..:-ie. -i.. :D ge_, in Bay Region, :.r, alia.


Average Minutes per Day
Women Men

Total Time in Agricultural Work
Crop production
Animal husbandry
Food preparation for sale

Total Time in Household Work
Food production for consumption
Child care
Care of others
Clothing care
Fuel gathering
Water gathering

Total Time in Other Work
Paid work
Clothing construction

Source: Adapted from Molly Longstrath. "Final Report on the Wome i.... ., 1. I .. .. .. -, ..
July 1985." Paper funded by a Women in Development Fell. .. Ih..,. i .... I II

In Guatemala, for example, many
families can no longer find enough fuel
for the lengthy cooking required for
their traditional staple of beans. FAO
supports projects to find ways to
shorten the time spent by women in
food processing and food preparation,
and in collecting water and fuelwood,
in order to increase their families'
nutrition and health as well as their
economic productivity.

Women who have access to education
often delay childbearng and use family
planning. Yet, there is still a tendency
in many places to send boys to school
while girls stay at home to care for
younger children and to help their
mothers. FAO has shown that girls
between the ages of 10 and 14
contribute 22 percent of family labour,
while boys in the same age group
contribute only 6 percent. Improved
agricultural methods and social
services would encourage parents to


educate children who might otherwise
be denied schooling because their
labour is needed on family farms.
An increase in female enrolment
must be accompanied by appropriate
curricula, for both girls and boys, in
terms of skills taught and future
employment possibilities. Agriculture
and home economics training should
include courses on farming methods,
resource management, health, nutrition
and family planning. In addition,
employment opportunities for
graduates must be examined in order
to widen the possibilities for women
within the agricultural professions and
in general.

Some achievements

Agricultural productivity is increasingly
constrained by demographic trends
that in turn affect the nutrition levels of
women and their families. Women's
limited access to education and
technical training further hinders
progress With the hope of improving
this situation, FAO is supporting
studies and projects designed to
address the linkages between
agricultural production, population,
nutrition, and education.


in totally

----. 43-

__ 49

40 i


- 32

ii -

,, ,, -

Near East .' -e
I st Level E 2nd Level 3rd Level
Source: UNESCO Sources N. 5, 1989
Figures are based on the three globally
recognized levels of education primary,
secondary and tertiary. In most regions,
girls and women have fewer opportunities
than boys and men to attend school.
The higher the level of education, the greater
the disparity.

Addressing women's productive and
reproductive roles
With case studies in Asia, Latin
America, Africa and the Near East,
FAO is seeking project approaches that
will have a positive influence on both
productive and reproductive roles of
women. A pilot study in the Yemen
Arab Republic enlists agricultural
extension workers in a population
education program. Between 1987-
1991, the project will: encourage more
women to be extension workers, train
women and men extension workers in
population education, and through the
extensionists, teach farmers about new
agricultural technologies as well as
Pilot studies in Tanzania, Sierra
Leone, Lesotho and Zimbabwe show
that as women farmers increase their
productivity and income, their attitudes
toward the number and spacing of
children desired are also indirectly
affected Women who participate in
FAO's income-producing projects
express more interest in information on
family planning and child feeding
practices than do non-participants.







People's participation programme in
In an effort to integrate nutritional
components into its projects, FAO is
examining the impact of increased
income on the diets of women and their
families. Studies are identifying
nutritional problems and determining
training and educational needs in crop
production in order to improve the
daily food consumption of Zambian
families. As of 1989, 97 participation
programme groups have been formed
in Zambia with FAO's assistance. They
involve over 1 000 rural people, 74
percent of whom are women. The
groups are starting their own
businesses, making profits and
learning how to save. Similar
approaches to nutritional integration
are being used in Pakistan, Sri Lanka
and Tanzania.


Training to promote the participation
of rural women and men in Honduras
Since 1986, FAO has helped train
women selected by local women's
groups to be promoters in rural
development and organize their own
groups. The project assists them in
earning income and teaches them how
to gain access to funding and technical
assistance. Promoters are trained in
literacy, nutrition and in improving
housing and environmental conditions.
A special training programme for
Honduran government officials and
technicians on incorporating peasant
women into the process of rural
development has also been designed
and implemented.
By 1988, at least 450 groups had
undertaken a wide range of activities
related to food production, literacy,
housing improvements, better nutrition,
communal stores, corn grinding and

sanitation. More than 1 200 men and
women in land reform cooperatives had
learned to read and write. Women were
enthusiastic about the recognition they
were receiving from their government,
and by their growing capacity to
negotiate credit and access to land.
Besides increasing rural production, this
project is responsible for mobilizing
women to identify and communicate
their needs at both the community and
national levels.
Training farmers in the Senegal River
In the past, only heads of households
were eligible for extension training in
the Senegal River Valley, thus only men
learned about new opportunities and
technologies. FAO has introduced two
approaches to increase access to land
and new technologies for women and
youth. First, a literacy programme
based on local languages is teaching
farmers how to read, wnte and
calculate numbers based on everyday
activities such as ploughing and
fertilizer use. The project works
directly with 53 groups, half of which
consist of only women, and half of
which include both men and women.
The literacy training widens the
participants' opportunities for access to
training, credit and new technologies.
Secondly, FAO has trained nearly 400
village women as extension agents and
provided the women's groups with
nearly 400 hectares of land. While
increasing their incomes and technical
and management skills, the women
serve as extensionists to neighboring
farmers. One group of women
produced 13 tons of onions in their first
season and marketed the harvest.


Strategy for action

FAO's strategy and action programme
is designed to adapt social services and
educational facilities to rural areas,
removing the constraints that prevent
the full participation of women in
agricultural development. Where the
strategies involve activities beyond
FAO's immediate mandate, the
Organization cooperates with other
UN agencies.

Peru Enterprise workshop gives
training and literacy classes to women.






Study the relation of demographic factors to women's roles in
rural and agricultural development
Integrate population components into already existing
agricultural, fisheries, and forestry projects
Organize training workshops for project staff on population
issues in rural development
Produce guidelines for integrating population components into
rural and agricultural development

Advise and assist governments in food and nutrition policy
making and programmes
Initiate nutrition education courses and supplementary feeding
Teach improved techniques and availability of resources for food
processing, preparation and conservation
Include such topics as clean water and fuel in regular projects

Review global and national educational trends and assist
governments in revising educational systems
Re-design curricula in home economics courses to include rural
women's issues in agricultural production
Integrate functional literacy into already existing projects
Encourage women's enrolment in higher education and their
studies in agricultural production sciences


Giving women the choice

In most cultures women are excluded
from the leadership and decision-
making roles which determine
development activities. Women do not
share fully in the decision-making
processes at household, village or
national levels. Their representation in
political parties, in governments and in
people's organizations has not been
sufficient to ensure that they benefit
fully from the development of their
communities and nations. Some
progress has been made through
access to local groups and
organizations, but a wider acceptance
of their capabilities is required at all
levels of policy-making.
Women and decision-making may
not prove to be a simple issue. The
interests of men and women in rural
areas may conflict over investments in
cash crops versus subsistence crops or
in the purchase of tools for household
production versus more advanced
agricultural machinery. Mothers and
fathers might disagree on the
education of their children because of
expensive school fees and/or the need
for children's labour at home.
Whatever the decisions, women should
have an equal say in those areas that
affect them and their families. With
leadership and management training,
women can exercise more control over
their lives and gain the skills needed in
order to be heard by governments,
village leaders and their families.
One method of increasing women's
role in decision-making is the formation
of groups: both groups for women, and
groups for women and men.
Particularly effective are self-help
community development organizations
at the grass-roots level and mutual aid
societies. These groups greatly
increase rural women's visibility at the
local level by representing and
safeguarding women's right to

participate in village and project
decisions. Often women in groups have
more power than individual women in
requesting access to land, credit,
agricultural services, extension and
training. Participation in groups also
can enable women to learn
management skills and methods for
earning and saving income. For
example, in Mozambique. Tanzania
and Zambia, national women's groups
are establishing branches in rural areas
while existing rural organizations are
strengthening ties with national
associations. In Bangladesh, the Nijera
Kori Kaj ("do it yourself') network of
organizations, along with the
Bangladesh Rural Advancement
Committee, specifically address the
causes of their poverty and organize
poor rural women collectively. In Chile,
a woman's non-governmental
organization assists peasant women in
marketing and in improving their living
conditions through education and self-
help activities.

Bangladesh Men and women join in a
training session for rural development


Some achievements

The decision-making opportunities of
rural women can be encouraged in a
variety of ways. In fact, most projects,
training workshops and manuals of the
kind presented in this booklet can help
improve women's skills and their role in
decision-making. Increasing the
economic opportunities of women can
improve their status, and in turn,
enhance their decision-making and
leadership roles at every level.
Preventing food losses in the North-
West Province of The United Republic
of Cameroon
Though women in the Cameroon grow
most of the maize and potatoes, and
process the harvests, extension
workers found that they were rarely

Percentage of women in F~-C 's
People's Participation Progiaimm.r'e (PPP)
Total % Tolal
PPP staff Women Farmer, Homen

16 25 3477 33

3 33 494 26

7 71 315 79

9 89 223 82

14 29 96 27

20 90 1043 74

11 82 573 80

25 28 2314 53

48 15 2118 11

present at demonstrations on post-
harvest processing. One problem was
the assumption that extension training
is for men; another was that
demonstrations were held at an
inconvenient time for women. FAO
decided to make women the focus for
extension training in the project area.
They were invited to join in and
meetings were re-scheduled to meet
their needs. This did not mean ignoring
men who build the storage facilities
and also cultivate maize. Discussions
with both women and men farmers
revealed that the best storage facilities
existed where men took an active
interest in food conservation, and
where husbands and wives tackled the
problem as a team. FAO also works
through the local women's groups and
cooperatives. One such group meets
every Sunday and decides on the
workplan for the coming week.
Another group acts as a savings and
loan association where women farmers
can borrow money and improve their
ability to save.
National meeting on household food
security in Thailand
The National Women's Meeting on
Household Food Security held i
Thailand in 1988 established a working
relationship among women's farm
groups, government agencies and non-
governmental and international
organizations. At the meeting,
organized with FAO's help, rural
women leaders voiced their problems
m guaranteeing food for their families.
Government units concerned with
including women in agricultural
programmes formed links with the
women leaders and sources were
identified to give them greater access
to credit, marketing, technology,
extension and training. Through these
improved channels of communication,
many of Thailand's organizations
concerned with the needs of women in
rural areas can respond more
effectively in policy-planning and in
providing support services. A similar
meeting was organized and held for
women's groups in Guatemala.


Strategy for action

The FAO Plan of Action is promoting
an increased ability and opportunity
for women to participate in
organizations, learn agricultural
management and use decision-making
skills to influence the future of their
families and nations. In order to
increase their incomes and to widen
their range of choices, projects are
encouraging both women and men to
share in making decisions, and to
share in the allocation of resources.





Tanzania Men and women learn record-
keeping in one of FAO's people's
participation projects.


Identify obstacles to women's participation in decision-
making at all levels
Encourage time-saving technologies that can help women find
the time to participate in social, economic, educational and
political activities
Promote the role of women in resource allocation, and in the
design of programmes and development strategies

Promote the establishment of women's and mixed-gender
local organizations such as cooperatives, farmer's self-help
associations, and credit and savings unions
Promote training programmes for women's associations and
increase their capacity for dialogue and negotiation
Promote community actions and collective initiatives by
women leaders in agriculture, forestry and communal fish

Increase efforts to identify, train, and recruit female candidates
to FAO professional posts without affecting the principle of
professional quality and equitable geographical distribution
Increase the participation of women in FAO training
programmes by inviting government and non-governmental
organizations to present women candidates
Develop a more comprehensive roster of women experts as



To carry out the strategies and actions
listed for the four spheres civil status,
economic, social and decision-making
the following are important tools. First,
FAO will improve its collection and use
of statistics and information so that its
data will reflect more accurately the
contributions of rural women to
agriculture and document their gains
and losses In development. Second,
the types of training and public
information produced by FAO will be
reoriented to include a stronger focus
on rural women. And third, women will
be integrated into mainstream
technical assistance projects. Because
the Plan of Action is a wide-ranging
document, it is necessary to provide a
strategy for its implementation in
terms of certain priorities. Seven
priorities have been selected by FAO
for the period 1989-91. Progress in
implementing them will be monitored
and new goals will be set for the period
1992-95, at the end of which the Plan is
to be fully operational. Crucial to the
success of these actions is the full
participation of the entire Organization
in conceiving, preparing and
implementing activities and projects
under the following priorities:
i1 FAO staff training on Women in
Development (WID).
-1 Policy advice to Member
1 Reorientation of home economics
and agricultural curricula.
iI Project development and
L Preparation of manuals and
guidelines to promote WID.
-0 Population education with
special reference to women in
L Data collection, research studies,
communication and public



FAO staff training on women in
To bring women in development (WID)
into the mainstream of FAO's
development activities requires that the
staff of FAO know why WID issues are
important and how they can be
integrated in technical plans and
projects. Therefore, a comprehensive
training programme has been designed
for FAO staff. It has two objectives: to
create an awareness and sensitivity to
gender issues, and to provide FAO staff
with the skills and tools required to
include them in the design,
implementation, monitoring and
evaluation of programmes and projects.
The emphasis on "gender analysis"
rather than on "women's issues"reflects
a broader concern with women's roles
and responsibilities in relation to those
of men. Gender analysis examines both
female and male roles within their
social, political, economic and ecological
environments, and can readily be
applied to development projects.
The FAO staff training programme
is based on key lessons learned by
other institutions in their training
courses on gender analysis: i) an
explicit mandate for gender training is
required from the Organization;
ii) training serves as an extremely
effective mechanism for integrating
women's perspectives and gender
analysis into the operations of an
institution; iii) the case study approach
is particularly well suited to learning
gender analysis because it actively
engages participants and provides a
realistic experience in handling the
issues; and iv) the selection of
participants and materials is crucial to a
successful training programme. At FAO,
the participants are staff members at
Headquarters and in the regional and
country programme offices.


The trading courses introduce the
basic concepts, theory and
methodology of gender analysis, the
interrelationship of development and
gender planning, and what is needed
to put WID concerns into FAO's
mainstream projects. The methodology
is learned through practical exercises
and case studies using selected FAO
rural development programmes and
projects. Various participatory training
techniques are used, including group

discussions, project needs
assessments, audio-visual matenals
and practical exercises. In addition,
existing training courses, as
appropriate, will be strengthened to
include gender issues.

Example of a gender analysis training session


To clarify fundamental
concepts relating to gender,
development, and planning

To introduce the rationale of gender
analysis and methodological tools to
translate it into practice.

To assess the application of
gender planning and analysis
methodology to the work of
FAO at the project level.


dlentil, the dlail\ a t-aks o men and %\omen
in clt. el)oping countries difterentialing
heIt\een product e and reprodui ti\e
a(.iti\ lie,
-nal\ sc the police\ approach in the
tundcing e\etuting agenc\ and in the
recipient .it)unlr\ in terms ol proLranlnlme

E\aluale a rural de\ elopment project b\
gender in terms ot needs required ,ilnd
henehts delliered

l\ppl\ gender anal\ is nmethodolog\ to an
F-\ ) pIlle( I.
Redesign an F -0 prolelt integraling enderr
Into the planning iidentif\ the procedures
undertaken at each ltau"- idennl\ personnel
iesponsible lor carr\ ing them out identify\
the malor constraints or potential support tor
gender anal\sii.


Legislation and government policies
are decisive factors in determining
women's participation in economic
and social life and in improving the
effectiveness of WID programmes
and projects. In advising
governments, FAO takes two
approaches: first, on a basis where a
technical unit in FAO addresses a
technical government agency on a
specific policy, and second, on a basis
where various technical units work
jomtly on a wider-ranging policy such
as food security or price policies.
Planned activities and programmes
11 Assisting Member
Governments interested in
revising their agrarian legislation
to concur with the guidelines
provided by the UN Convention
on the Ellmination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women.
1 Offering policy advice to
national ministries of planning,
agriculture and rural development
for the purpose of building and
strengthening Women in
Development units, and for
including gender issues in the
planning of overall national
strategies on forestry and food
1 Giving special attention to
including women when providing
assistance to governments on
people's organizations,
cooperatives and other rural

Home economics and agricultural
extension workers are important in
promoting rural development at
grass-roots and project levels. The
curricula of home economics and
agncultural training institutions is
therefore a key to development. By
including agriculture, animal
husbandry, nutrition and household
resource management in home
economics curricula, and by including
gender issues and women
participants i agricultural courses,
extension workers of both sexes will
be better equipped to give advice and
train rural farmers, especially women.
Planned activities, programmes and
projects include:
0 Reorienting extension services
to include WID concerns, and
developing training materials.
-1 Assisting Member
Governments to carry out staff
training, and redesigning
curricula to reflect WID concerns
in home economics and
agriculture at training schools and
higher education institutions
[i Offering nutrition training that
is sensitive to gender issues to
field staff from governmental
institutions and to lecturers from
agricultural colleges and
0 Preparing materials for training
women's groups in the
management of income-earning
0 Preparing materials on the
impact of new technologies on
labour patterns, resource
allocation and decision-makmg in
the household.


In order to increase its capacity to
include gender considerations in
projects, FAO is strengthening its
Inter-divisional Working Group on
Women in Development which will
focus on ways of including women's
concerns at all project stages. Special
attention is being given to the
identification of women as project
participants, in presenting agricultural
data by gender and in the inclusion of
women in project formulation.
Although continuing to have women-
specific projects, the emphasis will be
on integrating women into
mainstream projects.
Planned activities, programmes and
projects include:
0 Conducting farm management
surveys, including the study of
gender roles in agriculture and
domestic labour for the purpose of
planning, designing and
developing projects.
0 Continuing the inclusion of
gender analysis in the design of
agricultural, forestry and fisheries

Ar Ir

China Researchers conduct
measurements on vegetable seedlings.

D Offering training seminars to
improve agricultural extension
support for women.
1I Working with rural bankers to
extend credit to women farmers,
and where banks do not exist,
identifying alternative channels of
- Setting up pilot projects for
small animal production through
non-governmental organizations
(NGOs); and implementing
integrated dairy development
activities for small-scale milk
producers, especially women's
I Assisting women in resource
and environmental conservation
projects; promoting energy-
related technologies (in food
processing and the provision of
water and fuel) to alleviate
women's burdens, and promoting
the expansion of women's income-
producing activities in non-wood
forest products.
1 Providing continued support to
women in irrigation project
activities and involving women in
fertilizer programmes.
3 Training women retailers in
marketing techniques: and
continuing training activities for
women in small-scale fisheries.
L Including nutrition education in
agricultural and rural development
projects in order to improve the
population's nutritional status and
to prevent malnutrition and
nutritional deficiency diseases.


Guidelines and manuals help
decision-makers, advisors and
technical assistance staff to include
WID concerns m all stages of project
development. WID guidelines will be
incorporated into existing general
manuals where practical. In other
cases new approaches will be
developed. A strategy will be
designed for the use of such
guidelines by project design,
implementation, monitoring and
evaluation teams.
Planned guidelines and manuals
"1 Guidelines on fertilizer
utilization by women's groups, on
women's participation in
horticulture, seed selection,
integrated pest management.
animal husbandry, and on WID
and population.
.I Guidelines on gender analysis
so that gender concerns can be
addressed in project formulation
and reviews.
iI Guidelines on socio-economic
indicators for monitoring and
evaluating agrarian reform and
rural development with an
emphasis on women's issues.
_I Guidelines for project
designers and implementors to
incorporate women's concerns in
forestry activities.
71 Training manuals on women's
special problems in irrigation, on
improved traditional technologies
used by women in small-scale
rural enterprises, and on human
energy requirements that will
enable gender issues to be
covered in food and nutrition

Ways of bringing population
education into key technical areas
that affect women and rural
development are being explored.
Population issues will also be
promoted in existing projects, in new
pilot studies in agriculture, fisheries
and forestry, in training materials and
workshops, and m guidelines for
project planners. The purpose is to
create projects that improve the
status and quality of life of rural
women and their families, and that
collect more grass-roots level
information on the relationship
between women and demographic
factors in agricultural development.
Planned activities, programmes and
projects include:
0 Giving technical support on
WID issues to projects with
population components.
0 Conducting case studies on
women and population, and
providing technical assistance
and advisory services to Member
Governments on the integration
of population and environmental
0 Designing population
components for integration into
rural, agricultural, fisheries and
forestry development projects in
which women participate.
J Sponsoring regional training
workshops on population, women
in rural development, and women
and environmental concerns.


In order to improve the basis for policy
making and the implementation of
agricultural and rural development
programmes and projects, knowledge
of gender issues and women in
development must be built up. FAO
will intensify its efforts to strengthen
the data base on women in agriculture,
to provide and analyse standard
agricultural data by sex, and to carry
out studies on women's participation
in agriculture and their access to rural
services and technology.
Planned activities, programmes and
projects include:
Case studies
i1 Reviewing case studies to
identify legal problems hindering
women's participation in rural
development and studying legal
standards and women's
accessibility to resources.
7 Carrying out and analysing case
studies on women in irrigated
agriculture and on women's
importance in the environment, on
fuelwood, biomass fuels and other
forms of rural energy.
O Preparing case studies and film
strips of projects that have
overcome constraints to women's
participation in forestry projects.
0 Preparing a study on rural
women and fertilizer use for
consideration by the Commission
on Fertilizers.
0 Analysing technological changes
in agro-processing and their impact
on women's employment.
0 Studying the effects of economic
structural adjustment programmes
on the roles of women in
agricultural production, marketing
and family nutrition.

Data collection
0 Including information on
gender-linked tasks, access to
resources and decision-making
patterns in FAO farm data
I Setting up a data base on
women in agriculture, and
preparing a manual for the
collection of statistics on women in
a Working with Member
Governments toward an analysis of
data by gender for the World
Census of Agriculture.
i Ensuring an analysis of data by
gender in the Sixth World Food

Public information
0 Updating bibliographies on
women in agriculture.
0 Producing publications and
audio-visuals on WID.
O Preparing population
information, education and
communication projects that have
women as prime beneficiaries.

India A student asks a scientist about
mustard seed cuttings grown in
the tissue culture laboratory.


Monitoring and appraisal


Though progress can be difficult to
measure, systematic procedures have
been set up to monitor the Plan of
Action. Monitoring the integration of
women in agricultural development
will occur at three levels: within FAO,
within the UN as a whole, and with
Member Governments.
i1 Within FAO, programmes and
projects are evaluated as to the
extent to which they benefit
women. A coding system has been
established that monitors the
inclusion of female participants
and beneficiaries in projects. This
system is being expanded to
ensure that gender is considered
at each stage of the project cycle -
identification, formulation,
implementation, reporting and

i- Within the UN system as a
whole, FAO participates in making
contributions to women in
development programmes and
projects. FAO regularly reports to
the UN Division for the
Advancement of Women on its
progress m WID.
1 With Member Governments, FAO
assists in a reporting system that
allows nations to measure the
impact of government planning,
projects and programmes on
women. At the national level, FAO
is encouraging the reporting of data
by sex on agricultural production,
labour, income-earning activities,
education, health, nutrition and
other appropriate topics. FAO will
also organize evaluation missions to
countries to review and appraise
projects and programmes.

The focal point for implementing the Plan of Action

The \\('men in \gr l(iLitural ProducJtion and( Rural DteeloIlpment Ser, Ice is F -\)'
primn ijdl unit adcressiiig \wom n's issue O)ne It its most important responsibilities is
to support the Inter-Di, isional \Working Group on Women in Development \ hose
main purpose is to encourage all F-\) departments and ch\ sions to integrate w uomen's
concerns into their mainstream acti ties. The princll pal actl\ ities ot thi ser\ ice
in( lude.
.1 The preparation oi F-\( ) contribultion-l on \\omen in De elohpmnent it
international nmeetling~ dnil assistance [() natlnjal-le\el unit. rCesponsl)le cor
\ )1111n's Issue_"'
-I De\ elopment and implementation of agricultural held projects henetitTing
\\ men and supporting, wonlmen's participallon in mainstream programmes and
i1 Glo(ial. regional and local stuches on ~clmen's participation in agriculture
and household re(so-urce mnanagement-
I Reorientation c(- home cconomics and extension training programmnle- to
hc(trv on \\ onen's economic and producn\e acti\ itiet
i-1 Promotion ol population education in order to integrate d--moigraphic issues
in agricultural and rural de\elopmenrt planning and programines for \(omen





FAO's Plan of Action for the Integration
of Women in Development presents a
broad charter for increasing the overall
effectiveness of agricultural
development. It is a practical plan to
increase agricultural production,
improve the health and nutrition of
rural families, and foster national
growth by improving women's access
to new technologies in agriculture,
forestry and fisheries. While projects
for women are important, the focus is
on women and men working together
in mainstream projects where most
technical assistance is directed.
The Plan of Action signals a unique
time in the history of FAO where there
is a greater understanding and
willingness to make changes. Taking a
comprehensive view of women's
multiple roles, emphasizing their
economic contributions and focusing
on alleviating the obstacles, FAO
designed the Plan as an integrated
approach to assuring that women's
contributions and needs in agricultural
development are fully accounted for

Farmers tending
sorghum crop

and supported. The Plan of Action is
part of the United Nations' overall
efforts to increase women's
participation in development and will
require continued collaboration
between FAO and other UN agencies.
The four spheres civil status,
economic, social and decision-making -
outline FAO's commitment to
improving the lives of rural women.
The seven priorities selected are
appropriate for FAO at this time and
will facilitate an effective
implementation of the Plan. Already
the various technical units of the
Organization are finding new ways to
include women in their mainstream
projects. The success of the Plan
depends, however, on the active
support of Member Governments and
donors. They are the key to seeing that
the Plan's new strategies and actions
actually reach the world's rural


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