Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Background to the study
 The findings
 Back Cover

Group Title: Women's roles and gender differences in development ; 1
Title: The Nemow case
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00086606/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Nemow case
Series Title: Women's roles & gender differences in development
Physical Description: xxi, 53 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Palmer, Ingrid
Publisher: Kumarian Press
Place of Publication: West Hartford Conn
Publication Date: c1985
Edition: Rev. ed..
Subject: Women in rural development -- Case studies   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Bibliography: p. 53.
Statement of Responsibility: Ingrid Palmer.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00086606
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 11550575
lccn - 84028893
isbn - 0931816165 (pbk.) :

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
    List of Illustrations
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
        Page xv
        Page xvi
        Page xvii
        Page xviii
        Page xix
        Page xx
        Page xxi
    Background to the study
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
    The findings
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
    Back Cover
        Page 55
Full Text


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Women's Roles & Gender
Differences In Development

Ingrid Palmer

West Hartford

Copyright@ 1985 Kumarian Press
29 Bishop Road, West Hartford, Connecticut 06119
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright
Conventions. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form
or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or
any information storage and retrieval system, without prior written permission
of the publishers.

Printed in the United States of America

Cover design by

Timothy J. Gothers

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Palmer, Ingrid
The Nemow Case.
(Women's roles and gender differences in
development, cases for planners ; 1)
Bibliography: p. 53
1. Women in' rural development-Case studies.
I. Title. II. Series.
HQ1381.P34 1985 305.4'2 84-28893

S29 Bishop Road
est Hartford, CT 06119



Preface .................................................... .......... x
SU M M A RY ........................................ .......... .................... ........ xiii
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY.......................................... 1
The Project ......................................................... ............... 1
Objectives ................................. ................................ 1
Project D esign ....................................... ............ ................ 2
The Data Base ..................................... ..... ..................... 5
Implementation.............................................. .. .............. 7
The Land and the People .......................... .... .................. 10
Research M ethodology.......................... .... .... .................. 11
THE FINDINGS .................................... ........................ 14
To Create Employm ent ............................... .......... ................ 14
To Counter Poverty ............... .......... ........................... 18
To Improve Nutrition .................................... ........................ 19
To Improve Health ............................... ......................... 22
To Raise Levels of Literacy and Education................................. 25
To Reduce the Work Load and Drudgery of Women
to Free Them for Education and Community Activities ............... 27
To Give Women the Same Access as Men to More
Resources and Income .................................... .................. 30
To Bring Women More into Social and Political Affairs ................... 34
To Improve the Legal and Social Status of Women........................... 35
CONCLUSIONS ................... ......... .. ... ............ ... .... ............ 37
Summary and Conclusions.................................... ................. 37
Alternative Designs for the Project.......................................... 38
ENDNOTES ................................... ........ .................... .... .. 43
APPENDIX: A Methodological Approach to the Evaluation of the
Impact of Large-Scale Development Projects
on W om en ............................... ............ ............... 44
Reference Points ........... ............ ..... .......... ...... .................. 44
Determining Objectives to Be Used as Criteria ............................ 45
What to Look for in the Project Design and Effects ......................... 46
Source Material for Evaluation and Field Investigation
M ethodology .................. .. .............. ... ................. ........ 49
Components of the Study........................ ..... .................... 50
BIBLIOGRAPHY ................................. ....... ....................... 53


Table 1. Rates of Implementation for Economic and Welfare Sectors ..... 9
Table 2. Issues of Household Financial Management .................. 33
Diagram 1. Womens' Roles in Project: Effect on Production........... xviii


Why should development planners and scholars of
development be concerned about women's roles and gender

No project that expresses its goals in terms of
production gains or increased benefits can afford to ignore
the economic potential and needs of one-half of the
population. Guidelines for the design and evaluation of
development projects sensitive to women's roles have often
been applied only to a narrow range of "women's projects."
Our view at the Population Council is that all development
efforts could be improved if the differential impact on both
class and gender groupings were considered.

The series of case studies on Women's Roles and Gender
Differences in Development was developed to demonstrate that
such analyses are not only essential, but also feasible
within existing structures.

These case studies make clear how inattention to
women's roles and gender differences is played out as
projects are implemented. Excluding gender as a variable,
or limiting women's roles to the welfare sector, results in
unintended effects, sometimes positive, but more frequently
negative. Many of the stated objectives of the development
schemes under study were not attained because project
designs were predicated on an incomplete picture of the
society to be served and drawn into participation.

The case studies draw largely from material that
existed originally in other forms (such as exceptional Ph.D
dissertations). From these materials has been extracted the
"case:" (1) salient aspects of the culture and society in
which the development project was placed, (2) the project
dynamics themselves, and finally, (3) an assessment of gains
and losses in different goal areas. To complement
individual case studies, the Series for Planners includes
monographs on broader development phenomena whose effects
are seen outside the confines of specific development
schemes. As of this writing, the Series includes two
monographs, one dealing with the effects of male out-
migration on rural women's roles and a second on the impact
of different styles of agrarian reform on women's roles and

These materials are intended to be used by students of
development and professionals in the field, including those
at the highest planning levels. By providing examples of
how individual development schemes have operated vis-a-vis
gender, we hope they stimulate in the reader an interest in
exploring what thes effects might be in development
projects being des gne implemented, or evaluated. For
some time now, an un erstanding of class dynamics has been
seen as essential in designing projects for successful
outcomes. Wel have the same conviction regarding the
importance of understanding gender differentials. We hope
that this study series positively advances that notion and
provides its readers w th new skills and insights by raising
questions and suggesting alternatives.

We wish to thank ach of our individual authors for the
exhaustive work they have put into forming their material
into case studies.! We commend Marilyn Kohn for her fine
editorial work in finalizing the material.

Judith Bruce
The Population Council

Ingrid Palmer
Editor of the Series


The Nemow Case was originally issued in 1979 as Paper
No. 7 in the Working Paper Series of the International
Programs Division of the Population Council. The Case is
not an actual field study and does not describe any one
place or project. Instead, it synthesizes a variety of
well-documented field experiences to provide a hypothetical
model study. As a prototype for the series, the Nemow Case
establishes in broad terms the conceptual framework of the
series and presents methods for assessing the impact of
development projects.

Judith Bruce



Ever since the government came to be concerned about
rising food imports, the valley of the Nemow River and its
surrounding area had been regarded as a potential food bowl
for the country. Damming the Nemow and harnessing its
waters for irrigation would facilitate greater rice
production while modernization of the local fishing fleet
would increase the off-shore fish catch. As planning of the
Nemow Project proceeded and the requirements for resettling
the population were discussed, the idea of an integrated
development project with a range of sectoral components
emerged. The concentration of scattered homesteads into
centralized villages would enable the government to deliver
and administer basic services efficiently to a population of
over 70,000. Thus the area would receive the benefit of
both economic and social programs.

The objectives of the project were set out in official

1. To conserve and improve water and soil
resources in the area of the Nemow Valley.

2. To raise the output of rice in the area by
130 percent.

3. To raise the off-shore fish catch by 75
percent through the use of modern fishing

4. To increase the incomes and standard of
living of households through the supply of
irrigated water and other farm inputs.

5. To reduce landlessness through land reform
and resettlement on the irrigated land.

6. To reduce rural poverty by raising the
productivity of agricultural labor, and
creating more jobs.

7. To improve nutritional levels by raising
incomes and increasing the local supply of
rice and fish.

8. To overcome constraints on the supply of
public amenities, so that health and
educational programs could be made available
to all residents.

The original' objectives of the Nemow Project provide one set
of criteria which properly should be incorporated in this
evaluation. But it can be seen that, as expressed, they make
no mention of women as a specific target group. The
objectives relate to production and welfare aggregates, and
assume that when benefits from these accrued they would be
felt in some comparable way by both men and women. The
official objectives as they might differentially affect men
and women are usefully summarized below:

1. To create employment.

2. To counter pov rty.

3. To improve'nutrition.

4. To improve health.

5. To raise levels of literacy and education.

The supplementary obj ctives applied are:

6. Toi reduce the work load and drudgery of
women I to free them for education and
community activities.

7. To give women the same access as men to
more resources and income.

8. To bring women into social and political

9. To improve the social and legal status of

The principal economic justification of the Nemow
Project was the improvement of the rice and fish yields to
increase the marketab e surplus from the area. Land reform
was also undertaken which enabled male heads of households
to become amortizing lessees, and in time, full owners of
rice plots. Additional plots of red soil for women's
cultivationi of secondary food crops were loaned to
households by project management.

Modernized fishing boats were introduced to coastal
settlers and a fish processing factory was established to
take the enlarged catch. A Farmers' Association was
organized in each village to cater' to the needs of rice
production alone, and village Residents' Associations were
founded under the leadership of the most prominent men to
act as the beginnings of local government and to transmit
requests and complaints to the project management. Two
health centers, ten health clinics, and eight maternal and

child health centers were originally proposed. A primary
school was planned for each village and eight secondary
schools were planned for the whole project area. Adult
literacy classes were to be organized by the Residents'
Association with official government assistance.

The population was resettled in the villages by mid-
1973. After initial heavy expenditures during the
construction and resettlement stages, finances became tight.
Consequently, the production sector pushed ahead while
social sector implementation was delayed. This meant that
it is premature to assess the final impact of the project as
an integrated economic and social scheme. Nevertheless, the
impact of the project on women is already evident. However,
due to women's lack of access to resources in their own
right, it cannot be said that women have enjoyed a clear net


In this evaluation we are essentially concerned with
the impact of the project on women, and in turn, how
attention or inattention to women's roles affected the
overall project outcome.

1. To create employment: Because of the
enlargement of the small owner-cultivator
class and the decline in landless people, the
greater agricultural work requirements did
not result in a proportionate rise in wage
employment. Women in landed households
worked more intensively as a result of the
new technology, while the majority of the
landless women found work for more days of
the year than formerly, in spite of a much
reduced number of jobs for women in
harvesting and rice processing. The irriga-
tion cycle allowed for more exchange labor
for women's transplanting, but not for their
weeding. Women in fishing villages have lost
opportunities to earn money from the sale of
fish. There are hardly any women in the
modernized rice and fish processing industry,
and there has been no local generation of
non-agricultural employment as a result of
higher incomes. Women are occupied more than
ever in unpaid family labor in agriculture,
and landless men have made more gains in wage
employment than landless women.

2. To counter poverty: Household income in
real terms undoubtedly increased among owner-
cultivators and among the vast majority of

landless. But relative improvements in living
standards and tie satisfaction of basic needs
have not been commensurate with increases in
household cash income due to constraints on
women's economic authority in the household
and their lack of effective access to all
resources. Higher income came at a cost of
harder work in women's already fully committed
labor and this had a negative impact on their
role of delivering the basic needs of their

3. To improve nutrition: The new production
base has brought about a degree of uniformity
in nutrition over the whole site, with general
improvement in caloric supply and a greater
supply of fish to most residents, but a sharp
decline in fish in the diet of coastal
villagers. Variation in per capital food
supply is due to variation in household size
and to the presence of some polygamous
households. The seasonality of the
agricultural cycle imposed strains on women
which led to the premature weaning of infants
and sharp falls in standardsi of nutrition.
Landless households have done less well than
landed households in nutritional gains.
Further nutritional benefits from both the
existing levels of output and income and from
better use of Iland and labor must await
corrections to women's economic authority in
the household and recognition of the
productive potential of food crops other than

4. To improve health: In areas where health
services have been established there has been
a clear reduction in the incidence of cholera
and tuberculosis, but malaria has persisted.
Dysentery is still serious, especially at the
lower end of the irrigation scheme, where it
may well have increased. In spite of better
developed health services at the lower end of
the site, there is evidence that health is
generally superior at the upper end, which can
be attributed to the prevalence of several
waterborne diseases that areitransmitted to
the lower end of the site through the
irrigation system. While family planning is
obtaining a good response, medical staff have
not recorded any change in birthweights, which
is an important statistic on women's general

5. To raise levels of literacy and education:
Too short a time has elapsed since the
establishment of educational services to judge
their impact. Despite this, the existing data
suggest that the wide difference between men's
and women's literacy rates is not being
narrowed. Demand for child labor, especially
girls' labor, on the farms and in the house
means that effective education, even after
enrollment in schools, will be poorer for
girls. Far fewer women than men have joined
the existing adult literacy classes, and the
reason again can be seen in their work

6. To reduce the work load and drudgery of
women to free them for education and community
activities: Given the traditional sex-typing
of agricultural tasks, the effect of new labor
requirements has been the continued year-round
work of landed women accompanied by greater
intensity of daily work schedules at seasonal
periods. For men the effect has been more
days of the year worked, through double-
cropping, but no greater intensity of work
than previously. With no change in
agricultural implements used, neither sex's
hourly productivity can be presumed to -have
risen, but their fuller employment has led to
a rise in annual productivity. Women face
conflicts between work on the secondary food
crops and the rice crop, and between child
care and productive work at seasonal peak
periods. They are unable to use exchange or
hired labor to ease their burden (except for
planting) because they have insufficient
influence on either the organization of labor
or the use of the profits from rice. Women in
polygamous households and landless women
probably do not work as hard as other women,
but even landless women have a greater work
load than men when household and child-care
responsibilities are taken into account.

7. To give women the same access as men to
more resources and income: The land reform
and exclusively male membership of the
Farmers' Associations have weakened women's
legal entitlement to land and excluded them
from direct access to credit, extension
advice, marketing information, and the returns
to their own labor on the rice crop. Their
greater labor contribution to rice production


has failed to give them much more cash, and
in many cases! women could no longer earn
income from other sources. At the same time
their need for money to purchase supplementary
foods and fuel has risen. In polygamous
landed households, women even undertake casual
wage labor in order to raise cash. Women
expressed themselves forcefully on the issue
of access to resources and some stated that
they wanted rice plots of their own. It is
difficult to see, given the present
inflexibility of the production structures,
how this problem can be rectified without
radical intervention in land allocation and in

8. To bring women more into social and
political affairs: Population resettlement,
the confirmation of a new village patriarchy
through the leadership of the Residents'
Associations, and the economic undermining of
women's traditional kinship groups have all
contributed to a weakeningg of women's social
visibility and access to channels of
communication. Their complaints about the
conditions of their lives and work have been
voiced informally to project staff.
Improvement could come through the
establishment 'of a women's caucus in the
Residents' Association with guaranteed rights
of public expression or a quota of women in
its leadership.

9. Improve the legal and social status of
women: The weakening of land inheritance by
women is seen as a major disabling factor in
their future legal and social status. With
women's new land inheritance situation, dowry
practice can be expected to strengthen, but
education and/or greater demand for daughters'
labor in agriculture might be raising the age
at marriage of women. Although the incidence
of polygamy appears to be unchanging in
general, it might be on the increase in
coastal villages where cash income has risen
most. iThe net effect of these factors on
demographic behavior is not yet predictable.


The study of the impact of the Nemow Project on women
reveals that women's interests need not be viewed as a


consumption item in the total plan budget. There is no
necessary trade-off between achieving development goals and
raising the economic, social, and legal status of women.
Indeed, women's interests and development goals are
interdependent. Many of the weaknesses in the project's
performance in the areas of production, income distribution,
education, health, and nutrition can be traced back to
women's lack of access to resources in their own right.
Production goals might have been achieved more successfully
had greater consideration been given to women in the
original project plan. Rice yields and surpluses could have
been improved had women's work load and their resentment
over it been modified, and had women-headed households been
granted ownership of rice plots. Likewise, no justification
exists, in terms of trade-offs with food production goals,
for denying women ownership of red soil plots for
cultivating subsistence crops, which could have led to a
greater supply of other nutritional foods and more cash for
women. It is also doubtful that the production goals of the
project would have suffered had landless women enjoyed equal
access with landless men to the full-time wage employment in
the rice and fish processing mills and in the various jobs
provided by project management. That opportunities for
incorporating women's interests into the project were missed
must be put down to a combination of ideological bias, lack
of information, and a desire for expediency among planners
and administrators.

From the above, it can be concluded that there was more
than one way of achieving the production goals of the Nemow
Project. That women had an important role to play cannot be
questioned, but the terms on which they were obliged to
fulfill that role left much to be desired. Women's roles in
the project and the subsequent effect on production goals
and the satisfaction of basic needs is illustrated by the
diagram on the following page. On the right-hand side of
the diagram is an alternative allocation of productive
resources and set of production relations between the sexes.
Not only are the impacts of women on the project, and of the
project on women, more beneficial, but the more equal
economic and institutional authority of men and women allows
the project manager a greater role in acting on matters such
as land substitution, specialization of crops, and sources
of labor for all sex-typed tasks. The economic
enfranchisement of the whole adult population should not
only lead to a better informed management but also empower
it to intervene on a wide range of issues.

The alternative project design could have at the same
time improved benefit levels, the distribution of benefits,
and population outcomes. Under the actual design, the
pressure on women's time increased while their need for
income for basic provisioning also increased. Women's



women have weak
and derived position
in Residents'

channels of
for women to
demand correction

loss of
potential to vulnerable
satisfy all i legal and
basic needs social
including status of
lighter women

uneven gains in the
satisfaction of basic
human needs at the family
level, nolincentives to
limit family size, no
improvement and possibly
some decline in women's
roles between generations



Environment: irrigated black soil good for rice
growing,subsistence crops possible on both red
and black soils.

Traditional sexual division of labor: women work
subsistence crops, women and men work rice crop.

Traditional land inheritance: daughters inherit
one-half as much as sons.

male ownership of rice
land and membership in
Farmers' Association;
women in charge of loaned
subsistence crop land
with no access to credit,
technical advice

separate women's and men's
ownership of rice land, or
joint ownership; with women
continuing traditional role
in owned subsistence crop
land; both sexes have direct
membership in Farmers'

enhanced ability to meet basic
human needs at the family level,
incentives to limit family size
to consolidate economic gains
transferable to the next
generation, maintenance and
possibly some enhancement of
women's roles and status

economic and social authority was supported neither at the
family nor the community level; hence the base of their
status may have been unnecessarily narrowed to childbearing
and childrearing. The demand for female child labor was
not diminished; consequently girls' educational level re-
mained low and male/female differentials in literacy over
time may increase. In summary, no incentives to limit
family size were introduced.

As the Nemow Project stands now, some improvements can
be made by making health services more relevant, by
introducing a women's caucus in the Residents' Associations,
and by placing controls on individual men's accounts at the
Farmers' Associations. But if something more than this
patching-up is to be done, full government commitment to a
drastic correction of land allocation between the sexes is




Ever since the government came to be concerned about
rising food imports the valley of the Nemow River and its
surrounding area had been regarded as a potential food bowl
for the country. Damming the Nemow and harnessing its water
to facilitate higher yields and double-cropping of rice
became a major target of the Ministry of Agriculture. At
the same time the Department of Water Resources in the
Ministry saw in the plan a means of stemming the movement of
landless families up the sides of the mountain containing
the catchment area of the Nemow, a movement which had led to
deforestation, soil erosion, and the consequent threat of
flash floods in the valley. If farmers could be
concentrated on the low-lying land and provided the means to
higher yields and incomes, then the future viability of the
catchment area could be secured.

Farmers working on the coastal alluvial soil, forty
miles from the catchment area, had also been part-time
fishermen, but their fishing boats were driven by sail and
normally did not venture beyond eight miles from shore.
Since 1950 there had been a noticeable decline in the fish
catch, and officials in the Ministry of Agriculture had long
argued that motorized fishing vessels, which could go
further afield, would increase the catch substantially,
thereby supplying a larger quantity of marketable fish in
the country.

As the early discussion of the project proceeded, the
idea of an integrated development project with a range of
sectoral components emerged. Resettlement of the population
from scattered homesteads into villages would enable other
government departments to deliver and administer basic
services more easily and cheaply. Thus the area would
receive the benefit of both economic and social programs.

The objectives of the project were set out in official

1. To conserve and improve water and soil
resources in the area of the Nemow Valley.

2. To raise the output of rice in the area by
130 percent.

3. To raise the off-shore fish catch by 75
percent through the use of modern fish-
ing technology.

4. To increase the incomes and standard of
living of households through the supply
of irrigated dater and other! farm inputs.

5. To reduce landlessness through land reform
and resettlement on the irrigated land.

6. To reduce rural poverty by raising the
productivity of agricultural labor and
creating more jobs.

7. To improve nutritional level's by raising
incomes and increasing the local supply
of rice and fish.

8. To overcome constraints on the supply of
public amenities, so that health and edu-
cational programs could be made available
to all residents.

Before evaluating the impact of the Nemow Project on
women, its design, data base, and the process of
implementation are examined in order to appreciate the
significant changes which were planned.

Project Design

The area of the project covers gently undulating land.
On the low ground which was to come under irrigation, the
soils are black alluvial clays which are appropriate for
rice growing. On the crests of small hills and on higher
ground there are red soils which, together with the black
soils, are suitable for the cultivation of beans,
vegetables, and in some places, maize. At the
identification stage of planning, the black soils were
earmarked for cultivation of the main commercial crop
(rice), while Ithe red soils were to be distributed to
households I for the, production of their own food
requirements. Thus !at this first stage of planning an
arbitrary Iallocation of soil types and irrigation
facilities between commercial and self-provisioning crops
was made which precluded later possibilities for the
household to alter its crop-mix to maximize its own real

The red and black soils are located so that rice and
the subsidiary, crops can be cultivated without household
members having to walk very far. But the size of the
villages was determined by the degree of interdigitation of
the two types of soil, as well as by the availability of
black soils alone. The population of the 47 villages ranged
from approximately 400 to 2,000, with a mean of 1,480.

Under the auspices of the project one dam was built
from which one main canal extended 40 miles, passing through
the project area to the coast. From this canal a system of
lateral canals was built, terminating in distributaries
servicing the paddy fields. The controlled water supply,
which facilitates two rice crops a year, takes three weeks
to pass from the uppermost end of the site to the coastal
areas, which means that transplanting and harvesting, and to
some extent weeding, can be staggered.

The resettlement of farming households involved not
only the physical transfer of people to the new villages but
also a comprehensive land reform. The land closest to the
river had always been relatively more densely populated and
subject to high rates of tenancy. At the feasibility stage
of planning it was determined that as many households as
possible would ultimately become owner-cultivators of rice
land. For the sake of administrative convenience each
household throughout the site was to be allocated two
hectares of irrigated black soil. Land which had not been
farmed before or whose title was unclear was requisitioned
by the government. Owner-cultivator land and tenancies in
excess of the decreed farm sizes were reallocated. This
reallocated land and existing tenancies were converted to
owner-cultivator farms in two stages. Stage I converted the
new holders into amortizing lease tenants who purchased
their land by paying a fixed rent (some to former
landowners) not exceeding one-quarter of the average normal
harvest of the three years preceding the transformation.
Stage II was to come after the lessee had made 15 annual
installments of this rent at which time the lease would be
converted into full ownership rights. If the lessee should
die during the period of amortization the lease could be
inherited by one son only. The amortizing lease tenants
were identified as male heads of household and there was no
provision for granting land to women-headed households.

It was decided that for the red soil plots, unlike the
black soil plots, there would be no security of tenure and
ultimate ownership. These plots would be "on loan" from the
project for the duration of the life cycle of the household,
which could be interpreted as the lifetime of the male head.
Although the word "women" was never mentioned in the
production aspects of the feasibility study, it was easily
deduced from this document that the largely self-
provisioning crops from these plots were to be the exclusive
province of the household women. Questions of divorced or
widowed women's access to land of any kind were not raised
at any stage of planning. The identification and
feasibility stages of planning thus set discriminatory terms
of women's access to land at least through the first
generation of the life of the project.

Farming households, once settled, were immediately to
become members of village Farmers' Associations for purposes
of rice cultivation. This meant that only male heads of
household were to be members. There appears to have been no
intention of using the facilities of the Farmers'
Associationsito improve productivity on the red soil plots.

The two purposes of modernizing the fishing industry
were the improvement of the diet of project residents and
the expansion of the local fish processing industry. To
that end, motorized fishing boats were to be purchased on
credit by a cooperative of fishermen from whom a state
enterprise would buy the catch and then divide it between
the enterprise's fresh fish marketing agency and its nearby
fish processing factors. At the start of the project it was
not made clear how the men were to divide their time between
rice cultivation and fishing, each of which would now
require more labor. As it was known that family labor was
utilized in both rice and secondary food crop production, it
was assumed that if there were lower yields on these farms
they would be only slightly lower, and that this would be
more than outweighed by the increase in the fish catch.

As an integrated program of rural development, the
project included welfare components which were designed to
complement the production structure. In the nearest large
town there was a well-equipped hospital which was shared by
project residents with people in neighboring towns. Within
the project, two health centers, each with a doctor,
midwife, and nurse, were to be established. These health
centers were to have 25 beds between them for inpatients in
addition to an outpatient service. Ten rural clinics were
planned with a nurse or midwife in permanent attendance at
each. Medical personnel were to average one doctor to
35,000 people, and one nurse or midwife to about 4,000
people. Each clinic would serve an average of about four to
five villages. Attached to eight of these clinics would be
maternal and child health centers, staffed by a nurse or
midwife and including family planning services, and a small
dispensary. Six extension workers were to move among the
maternal and child health clinics, holding classes in
nutrition and general home economics. Because of the poor
ground water supplies there was no provision in the plan for
installing wells in the villages.

The plan included primary schools in each village and
eight secondary schools distributed throughout the site. An
adult literacy program was designed to eventually cover the
whole site.:

The plan also includedd the goal of establishing
village-based Residents' Associations which could raise any
non-farming issue with project management. All adults in

the village were assumed to be members automatically. These
Associations were intended to form the basis of village
government and to constitute the local channel of
communication to project management.

The Data Base

Most of the data utilized to justify and design the
project were economic: per capital food consumption, the
national food import bill, technical data on rice yields
from experiments, estimated production and profits. As a
result of calculations based on these data the average net
household income from all farm sources was predicted to rise
from U.S. $358 to $838; an increase of 135 percent, largely
due to an expected average increase in annual paddy yields
from 1.8 tons per hectare to 4 tons. The previous level of
household income was obtained from a sample survey in the
region in which the project was located. 1 There was no
baseline information on household income from fishing, but
the project appraisal stated that the total fish catch was
expected to increase from 30,000 tons to 80,000 tons a year.

The preparatory stages of planning were marked by an
absence of data on household and wage labor, and on the
sexual divisions of labor. Official national data had
indicated that, in the region, the labor force participation
rate of women was only half that of men. But, whereas the
additional labor effort required by the new rice technology
was described in the appraisal in some detail, no attempt
was made to break it down between men's and women's work
effort. An additional 400,000 man-days of work were said to
be needed by the new crop technology and level of output,
equivalent to 2,000 new jobs (averaging 200 days a year).
While this was offered as evidence of future reduction of
poverty among the landless, it was never clearly stated in
the appraisal how much of this extra work effort would be
realized by the creation of new jobs and how much by
additional family labor. The appraisal merely noted that
there would be sufficient "surplus labor" on the site to
meet labor demand periods. Since the appraisal assumed that
past seasonal migrant labor of between 2,000 and 3,000 men
and women would no longer be required, it has to be
concluded that it was taken for granted that family labor
would be utilized more intensively on rice production after
the land reform since the proportion of residents who would
remain landless would be much reduced.

Although new rural industries based on the processing
of the larger rice harvests and fish catch were also
expected to benefit the remaining landless, no figures on
the anticipated employment creation were given in the


The baseline data on the welfare status of project
residents, meager as it was, suggest some weaknesses in the
design of the project.j Although even good statistics on
health disabilities are usually not broken down by sex or
age, they still hold special significance when looking at
women's issues since mothers bear the main burden of
sickness in the family. Most of the quantitative
information on health was:drawn from national averages since
there was ino pre-project survey of particular health
disabilities in the area. But the Ministry of Health knew
from past local medical experience that most of the diseases
found in the area were water-borne: dysentery, cholera,
gastroenteritis and malaria. These communicable diseases
were mentioned in the project appraisal without any
accompanying data. The high infant mortality rate in the
region, 129 per 1,000 live births, was of major concern to
the planners of the health sector, and was a principal
motivation for allocating resources to the maternal and
child health clinics.

Other known common illnesses included respiratory
infection, some tuberculosis, and skin and eye diseases.
One of the main objectives of the project was to improve the
nutritional status of the people, and to that end, increases
in the food crop, allocation of approximately 20 percent of
the cultivated area to higher food Value secondary crops on
red soils, and a greatly enlarged fish catch, were written
into the design. As far as these health disabilities were
concerned it can be said that preventive measures were
inscribed in the project design. However, while the
descriptions of vitamin-deficiency diseases as set forth in
an anthropological study on traditional medicines that
dated back a quarter of a century were mentioned in the
social sector of the project appraisal, 2 it was noted
that the anthropologist had found these diseases to be
moderate among households farming up the rainfed slopes,
most notable among households near the River Nemow about 15
miles from the coast, and least notable among the coastal
households. There was not therefore a contiguous pattern in
nutritionally-based disabilities. A closer examination might
have revealed the relative nutritional deficiencies of three
quite distinct food crop cultures., The same study also
showed, not surprisingly, that upland residents had suffered
least from most of the water-borne diseases.

The only statistic of special reference to women's
health status mentioned in the appraisal was the total
fertility rate (the average number of children born to a
woman in her lifetime)!. But this was the official national
rate of 5.8. On this basis the integrated program included
a concentration of family planning.

During preparatory discussions of the project, it had

been recommended that data collection should be undertaken
on household welfare and time budgets before the project was
finally appraised, but it was quickly agreed that these
surveys would require too much time and effort. Along with
that decision there seems to have been no attempt even to
review socio-economic articles about the area, the sexual
division of labor, decision making in the household, sources
of food for the household, or the pattern of expenditure of
household cash earnings. Thus, no baseline socio-economic
data pertinent to women's status, and from which later
comparisons could be made, were gathered.


The history of the Nemow Project can be usefully
separated into three phases.

The first phase of implementation (1964-1968),
irrigation and settlement construction, was marked by an air
of financial permissiveness. Landless labor (including some
off-site labor) was mobilized to construct the dam and
irrigation works. An estimated 4.3 million man-days (or
3,666 jobs a year) of unskilled labor were required. About
one-third of labor used was female. Each worker was paid in
cash and in food rations from the International Food
Programme, but the cash component for women was only 50
percent of that for men. The equal food rations appear to
have been in response to the need for administrative
convenience as well as to the International Food Programme's
concern over ensuring that mothers obtained as much direct
access to food as possible. The cash component came through
government accounts, and the discrimination against women
can be seen as an attempt to use the alleged lower
productivity of women's manual work to save on costs.

Phase Two, which lasted almost four years, saw the
resettlement of households and the maturation of production
plans aided by the formation of Farmers' Associations as
well as the work of agricultural extension personnel. For
their first year of residence on the project, most of the
households were heavily supported by free food distributed
by the International Food Programme to women of the

The method of distribution of the red soil plots was
never made explicit. Inquiries made of project personnel
during field investigation for this evaluation led to the
conclusion that there were "general rules of thumb" followed
by the Residents' Association, whose task it was to allocate
the red soil, which took into account the available quantity
or quality of the red soils in the vicinity. In cases where
a man had more than one wife, additional red soil land was

awarded the household although it did not always double the
household's supply of this crop land. The black soil plots
never varied with the number of wives or household size.
Because women were not granted black soil plots and because
in this phase of implementation red soils were only
allocated with black soils for administrative convenience,
women-headed households received no land at all. However,
when their plight came to light in later years, some of
these women, along with' newly divorced women, were allocated
red soil plots by the village Residents' Associations.

A similar problem concerning women-headed households
occurred in regard to housing. Those who were already
living in densely populated areas remained in their old
houses, sometimes at a distance from the new village
location. But there were cases, which project personnel
still dwell on, of these households being moved with others
from upland areas orly to find that no housing had been
provided for them.i They were eventually housed but only
after unnecessary hardship.

Phase Three began in 1972 with high visibility of
personnel from the Ministries of Agriculture, Health and
Education, many having arrived on the site in the last year
of Phase Two. But it was also a period when a much higher
proportion of costs was being borne by the government and
when inflation after 1973 played havoc with the available
resources from both external and national sources. This had
several effects on implementation.

During the planning period it had been argued that if
more money Iwere spent on welfare amenities at the start,
then less money would be available to develop productive
capacity and raise household incomes. In the new mood of
austerity in Phase Three this argument was reinforced,
resulting in supplementary funding for the Ministry of
Agriculture to counter inflation while the health and
education sector plans were Irescheduled to make
implementation slower. In the original plan, clinics,
health workers, and schools were to be established
throughout the site by 1975, but most of these services were
not established until late 1977. In some of the remote
villages, health services are still being established, while
village schools and adult education facilities have not yet
appeared. The comparison of rates of implementation for the
economic and welfare sectors can be seen in the following




Resettlement of

Establishment of Farmers'

Establishment of Resi-
dents' Associations


March 1973



100%, Nov.

90%, mid-1973
100%, Sept.1974


Estab. of 2 health

Estab. of 10 rural

Fielding of 6 welfare
extension workers

Estab. of village
primary schools

Estab. of 8 secondary

Estab. of adult
literacy programs


end 1974


end 1975

end 1977

end 1975

June 1974

5 in mid-1976
6 end of 1977
9 in Dec. 1978

Begun early 1977
Completed end 1977

60% early 1978
90% Dec. 1978

none yet

70% of villages
had some facili-
ties by Dec. 1978

By 1974 settlers were expected to be ready to manage
their own affairs through the Farmers' Associations and the
Residents' Associations. The Farmers' Associations became
responsible for collecting credit repayments and rice
deliveries, as well as channelling inputs to farmers, while
the Residents' Associations began to exercise their role of
passing on general requests and complaints to project
management. Unlike the Farmers' Associations, the village
Residents' Associations included all adult residents, not
only male heads of households, in its membership. However,
the project manager appointed a "headman" to lead the
Residents' Associations and three "head cultivators" to
assist him. All these officers were men. The first task
given the Residents' Associations was to assist in the
allocation of the red soil acreage among households. This
issue was of specific concern to women, and yet they were
not consulted at any time. If women were to appeal any
decision on the basic economic structures or on the welfare


sector their appeal would necessarily go through a channel
dominated by a confirmed patriarchy.

The coordinating and soliciting roles of the project
manager and his staff commenced upon the withdrawal of the
construction personnel in 1969. |The project manager
authorizes and monitors any changes in the project's design
and its institutions;. The project manager is also
responsible for receiving complaints from residents, and for
trying to resolve their problems and pass on their requests.
But the nominal power of the manager could be frustrated by
problems of coordination beyond his control. For instance,
Phase Two was a critical time for raising the issue of labor
patterns among men and women and for planning new employment
creation for the landless before the period of austerity
emerged. But theI management consumed so much time and
effort in forging a single chain of command among staff of
various ministries receiving separate instructions from
their head offices, that the opportunity to discuss such
issues was missed. Later on, when the manager had more time
to review progress and particular programs, he no longer
commanded the same attention in government departments and
was continually reminded that the project had to start
paying fori its capital costs through its economic
performance. Thus the principal independent source of
intervention on women's behalf was effectively silenced.


The River Nemow Irrigation Project covers a population
of 70,000 and an approximate area of 300 square miles. It
extends 12 miles along the coast at its widest point and
runs 25 miles inland through the Nemow Valley. The project
area was formerly served by a single bituminous road running
parallel to the river for a distance of ten miles inland and
leading off from the coastal highway. A network of dirt
tracks also existed, but many of these were rendered
impassable during rainy seasons. Settlement had long been
densest on land closest to the river in the lower portions
of the valley, where a high incidence of tenancy prevailed
and a reputed 25 percent of the population was landless.

Formerly there were three economic cultures in the
area. In the inland hills leading to the catchment area of
the River Nemow, established farmers and illegal squatters
cultivated a single crop of rice accompanied by extensive
vegetable growing and the raising of chickens and goats. In
the Nemow Valley most of the fertile!land had been owned by
large landholders (some with several hundred hectare plots)
who had allowed sharecroppers and a few fixed-rent tenants
to farm strips of about four to five hectares each. Here,

near-monocultural rice cultivation existed with a lower-
yielding second crop and some vegetables grown on low-lying
land near the river. Coastal villagers combined rice
cultivation with fishing.

Among upland farming households little or no rice was
marketed, but along the river, owner-cultivators marketed up
to a third of their crop, large landowners a great deal
more, and tenants only modest quantities. Cultivating the
former low-yielding rice varieties had produced the sharpest
labor demand peaks at rice planting, harvesting and
processing times, during which between 2,000 and 3,000
migrant laborers arrived regularly from neighboring areas.
In the more densely populated areas, there was a small
amount of exchange labor for planting and harvesting,
principally female and male-typed tasks, re-spectively. In
between these peak labor demand periods little work was
performed on the standing crop so that the female-typed job
of weeding could be done at a more leisurely pace, with
time available for the cultivation of self-provisioning
crops where land permitted. In the coastal area the women
had been allowed about one-third of the fish catch for
household consumption and for their own processing and
trading. Thus with the low degree of commercialization of
the staple cereal and the ability to trade small surpluses
of secondary food crops and fish, women enjoyed a large
measure of direct access to food and cash resources. In the
coastal area, at least, some women had formed credit unions
of their own for purposes of meeting special expenses and
modest household and productive investments.

Under Moslem law women enjoyed the right to inherit
one-half of the amount of land inherited by their brothers,
although in the presence of a dowry system it is not clear
how strictly this law was applied. Marriages were
customarily arranged and polygamy was in evidence among the
larger owners of land. Kinship groups tended to be localized
in the three main areas of upland settlements, river
settlements, and coastal settlements. Together with women's
access to income in cash and food items in kind, the local
presence of their kinship groups had provided women with
real support in meeting their material and social needs.


The sources of information for the evaluation include
the annual progress reports of the project manager; the
annual progress reports of the Farmers' Associations; the
periodic summaries of the work of the Residents'
Associations; the annual reports of the project's fish
authority; records of family planning acceptors and of


health clinics; and s hool and adult education enrollments.
These reports relied heavily on quantitative data which
represented ithe visible end-products of change. In order to
examine what their achievement involved as far as women's
participation was concerned, and to gauge errors of omission
due to non-representation of women's voices, field work was
undertaken on the site! in December 1978. Due to constraints
of time and funding the evaluator could spend only three
weeks in the field.

Apart from a sample of women residents, the project
manager and some of his staff (including medical workers and
home economics extension workers), and a sample of
Resident's Association leaders were interviewed. Six
villages were visited: two in the upper end of the project,
three in the central valley area, and one coastal village
which combined rice cultivation with fishing. An average
of six women i(including one or two landless women) were
interviewed| in each village, the majority of them at the
location of the health clinic and the remainder in their
homes. Medical workers and home economics extension
workers assisted the investigator in drawing up a sample of
women respondents based on household size, age of women,
and attendance/non-attendance at the family planning and
maternal and childihealth clinics.

The women| resi ents were asked questions about their
general view of lifd on the project compared with their
previous lives, problems of early adjustment, their opinions
on the division between secondary food plots and rice
fields, as well as on the distribution of land by household
size, and changes in their work patterns. They were also
asked about their use of family planning and health services
and educational facilities. They were invited to give
examples of changes lin decision-making patterns in their
households, changes in the sources of food they cooked, and
changes in the cost of food. At the end of each interview
the women |were asked what role they had played in the
village Residents' Association. The questions were open-
ended in the sense that the women were encouraged to add
comments which related one issue to another and to express
their satisfaction and dissatisfaction. All project
officers were asked questions concerning the difficulties
of their tasks over the life of the the project so far and
the revisions they would like to have seen in the design and
implementation !of the project.

The original objectives of the Nemow Project provide
one set of criteria which properly should be incorporated in
this evaluation, but it can be seen that, as expressed, they
made no mention of women as a specific target group. The
official objectives relate to production and welfare
aggregates, and assume that when benefits from these accrued

they would be felt in some comparable way by both men and
women. In order to overcome this limitation, those official
objectives which are deemed relevant to this analysis are
retained, but rephrased to form more direct criteria for
evaluation. Moreover, new objectives are added which reveal
changes in women's absolute or relative (to men's)
condition. While these additional objectives were not
intended by the project planners, they can be regarded as
objectives which should have been incorporated. In this
evaluation, we are essentially concerned with the impact of
the project on women, and in turn, how attention or
inattention to women's interests has affected overall dev-
elopment goals. The official objectives as they might
differentially affect men and women are summarized below:

1. To create employment

2. To counter poverty

3. To improve nutrition

4. To improve health

5. To raise levels of literacy and education

The supplementary objectives applied are:

6. To reduce the work load and drudgery of
women to free them for education and
community activities

7. To give women the same access as men to
more resources and income

8. To bring women more into social and
political affairs

9. To improve the social and legal status of



Under this objective it is necessary to examine how
changes in labor requirements have led to changes in
employment of women: absolutely and relative to men, among
the landed and landless classes, and in agriculture and non-

The first wave of employment creation came with
irrigation construction. Because this was labor-intensive
and because most of the farming continued during this
phase, it employed quantities of off-site migrant labor.
About one-third of this total labor force was female. A
total of about 3,700 jobs were created over a continuous
four-year period. Since payments were made in both food and
cash, this employment brought in a substantial amount of
additional purchasing power. Although some of this labor
transferred to farming at peak demand periods and was
supplemented byi migrant labor, it had the effect of pushing
up seasonal farm wages, which in turn provoked farmers to
apply family labor more intensively during this
construction phase. During a field investigation in 1978
farming women remembered this time as a difficult period as
far as their work schedule was concerned, particularly
during planting and harvesting when they felt the strain
of adjustments to household routine and child care.
Landless women gained in terms of more wage employment but
also have memories of the very hard work and their desire
for greater food intake.

The new agricultural technology, the introduction of
double-cropping, and the organized processing of greater
outputs of rice and fish have all contributed to providing
more regular work for those who are employed. But job
creation has not increased as a result of the extra amount
of labor required. The new rice technology and the land
reform have brought about fuller employment of the labor of
the landed households, especially women, but has had a
variable influence on the quantity of casual and seasonal
jobs for the remaining landless. In the absence of
benchmark data on pre-existing employment, underemployment,
and unemployment, any assessment of net job creation must
inevitably depend on qualitative explanations.

Together with the effect of gravity flow irrigation,
the new rice technology introduced new labor patterns and
altered the sexual division of labor (although not
necessarily the sex-typing of jobs). Although this imposed
a new uniformity of agricultural tasks over the whole site,
the felt changes varied by area. First, two crops of rice

became the rule, though this had previously been practiced
among only one-third of the farming households. Second,
women's transplanting required more care as it had to be
performed in straight rows; women's weeding became more
intensive as the application of fertilizers increased the
amount of weeds; and harvesting (by both sexes) required
more hands. Third, the fact that the irrigation water took
three weeks to pass from the uppermost end of the site to
the coastal area meant that planting and harvesting, and to
a very small extent weeding, were staggered, allowing for
mobility of the labor force between households. This has
led to an increase in exchange labor and to a longer period
of seasonal employment for the remaining landless who did
find farming employment. Previously, exchange labor had
only been practiced by households for harvesting in the more
densely populated areas near the river. 3

In general, it was men's tasks of ploughing and
(their share of) harvesting which both benefitted from
exchange labor by easing the intensity of work. But landed
men in newly double-cropping households worked more days of
the year than previously. With two crops a year, and with
extended periods of transplanting and harvesting, most of
the smaller number of landless women found they had more
regular employment throughout the year, although the real
value of the average daily wage was less than they had
commanded at the former peak labor-demand periods. In spite
of the greater amount of necessary weeding, very little wage
labor was hired for this task because farming households
attempted to save on wages by utilizing female (adult and
child) family labor more intensively. Consequently,
instances were cited by agricultural extension workers of
this task not being performed as well as it should have

With the regularization of exchange and hired labor,
farming households settled down to employ the same workers
on the rice plots every year. Those landless women who were
fully incorporated in this system clearly gained by the
fuller laboring calendar. But there were still some
landless women who, because they arrived in the village
late or because of chronic illness, were unable to gain
entrance to the new system. With attention being
concentrated on the successful points of rice production,
nothing appears to have been done for these women and they
have become almost completely dependent upon their
husband's earnings. Sometimes they obtain harvesting work
or casual labor, such as helping landed women with the
extra cooking necessitated by exchange and hired laborers,
but in general they seem to have been left waiting for the
creation of off-farm employment.

The impact on off-site migrant labor would appear to be

serious since both men and women from neighboring areas had
depended on seasonal work in the Nemow Valley for part of
their income. 4f There is now little or no work for them.
The net effect of longer but staggered harvests has been
that some extra labor for harvesting is required from off
the site, but this is almost entirely satisfied by male

Three large mechanized harvesters arrived in the form
of aid to the project, but it was found that they could not
negotiate the narrow bridges over thel irrigation streams and
so had to beldiscarded! Until now there has been no further
attempt to introduce mechanized harvesting, although smaller
two-wheel harvesters Are being experimented with. Should
they eventually be introduced over the whole area it can be
expected that migrant labor will be totally eliminated,
along with the largely male exchange labor.

For women the results of the greater work effort
required by the new rice technology appear to be that female
household labor (including exchange labor) is utilized more
fully and intensively throughout the year; landless women
who do find employment are more regularly employed; and a
minority of landless women have less employment than before.

In the coastal villages the impact of the new uniform
rice production technology and the modernized fishing
industry has altered women's labor participation in yet
another way. Previously the women had met the returning
fishing vessels on the beach, had helped to pull the boats
up, and been allowed tq take part of the catch for immediate
consumption, for drying or curing, and for later sale. The
modernization of fishing and the much larger catch have led
to the establishment of a project fishing authority with
its own processing factory and trading outlets, leaving the
women with no role to play in this sector. The longer
absence of husbands :at sea has had some minor effects on
the households' rice farming: the weeding does not appear
to be done so well in coastal villages and yields are
slightly lower as a result. The men are present at
harvesting time to hire and direct labor. Any exchange
labor for transplanting is usually managed by the women,
whereas elsewhere on the site men make these arrangements.

Processing the paddy had been exclusively women's work,
with hired labor supplementing family labor. The
introduction of mechanized milling (which is said to take
about 85 percent of the whole crop) has eased the workload
of landed women but virtually eliminated this source of wage
employment 'for ilandle s women. With many former landless
women now in farming households, the effect on the incomes
of the landed is not as great as it would otherwise have
been, but it represents a loss of wage employment for the

remaining landless women relative to landless men.

Secondary and tertiary employment creation was expected
as a result of the expansion of primary production. The
rice mills that have been established provide 650 jobs in
wage employment, but 90 percent of this is male labor. The
fish processing plant created 74 jobs of which five were
taken by women -- all clerical workers hired from off the
site. The administrative complex and the health and
educational establishments employ approximately 151
caterers, laundry staff, cleaners, and gardeners, most of
them landless men who also undertake seasonal harvesting
work. The Ministry of Works and the Department of Forestry
employ an entirely male regular labor force of about 200 to
maintain the main canals and laterals and to work on
reforestation. Very few residents are involved in
transportation and trading of the rice and fish output since
this has been modernized and utilizes public service
personnel from outside.

Of the expected off-farm employment generated through
higher incomes little has so far appeared. There is an
apparent cleavage between the produce from the red soil
plots (which is overwhelmingly household self-provisioning)
and the produce of the black soil plots (which is absorbed
into the modern complex of regulated and private deliveries
of paddy to the mills). The increased purchasing power is
mainly spent on the purchase of urban manufactured goods,
such as clothes, household effects, bicycles, and radios, as
well as food. Handicrafts and the sewing of wearing apparel
have often been touted as new employment opportunities, but
these activities, which would normally employ women, have
fallen victim to the period of austerity which prevailed
after implementation of the primary producing sector. It
has also been pointed out by opponents of investment in
these lines of production that even though the women have
requested more income-gaining employment, the evidence is
that the new rice technology has occupied women more fully
than hitherto. This is certainly true, but these requests
by women reveal that they are not happy about the form of
their additional "employment."

On the other hand, work by both men and women on simple
wood products has now been curtailed by forestry
restrictions and by the movement of residents into villages
far from sources of wood. This loss of income-gaining
employment has to be added to that lost through
modernization of rice and fish processing and trading in
order to gain any assessment of net income-gaining
employment creation.

Unfortunately, the lack of baseline data precludes any
attempt at direct measurement of the -net result, while the


transformation of some landless households and illegal
squatters into landed households makes it difficult to draw
conclusions on which class of women gained or lost most. For
most of the women the principal issue confronting them was
that work creation had not provided them with more direct
income, but the implications of this are discussed later.
Because all the plan documents failed to conceptualize both
the social relations of household labor allocation and the
sexual division of labor, the optimistic assumptions on
diverse employment creation appear to have been highly
conjectural. Moreover, it can be stated that a minority of
the remaining landless women face a form of exclusion from
main-line activities along with a loss of access to their
former means of livelihood.


The most eloquent indicator of a reduction in poverty
is an increase in real income or purchasing power. Given
the difficulties ofi measuring all items of welfare,
including those that emanate from the natural environment
and from free government services, this is inevitable.
However, real household income alone presents a very
incomplete picture of living standards which depend heavily
on the use made of income and the distribution of benefits
among individual recipients. Furthermore, the work input of
the income should also be included in any overall assessment
of a reduction in poverty, for the marginal disutility of
extra work can be greater than the marginal utility of extra
income--again distributed among individuals. These
reservations as they affect women will be dealt with under
other objectives to follow, but ;here some qualitative
comments are added regarding the observed rise in household
real income.

The project manager's annual reports included estimates
of household cash income derived from rice production,
fishing, and off-farm employment. !The range of increases
was wide, but a clear upward trend was easily discernible.
The reported average income of residents before the project
was $358 per household. This included estimates of self-
provisioning products. In the first five years of
implementation, cash income alone had risen to a range of
$390 to $480 (at constant pre-project prices). 5 The
highest cash incomes were recorded in the fishing villages;
the lowest in the upper end of the project area where
extension services and input delivery systems are weakest.
Unfortunately no estimates of the value of production on the
red soil plots were available.

The land :reform had increased the economic assets of
the vast majority of the households, and had given them a

secure productive base for their livelihoods. This was
obviously the most important single measure in countering
poverty and both sexes benefitted (though very unequally)
from this asset distribution. The much higher yields and
financial returns to rice production raised cash incomes to
a new plateau, and unless land is fragmented in the future
it can be assumed that this bulwark against former levels of
poverty is permanent.

The most significant reductions in poverty (as measured
by cash income) were obviously experienced by those
households which had formerly been illegal squatters on the
slopes of the hills, those which had formerly been small
share-croppers on land close to the River Nemow, and those
which had formerly been landless but were now owner-
cultivators. Fuller year-round employment among most of the
remaining landless undoubtedly has meant a reduction in
poverty among these households too.


In this section we are concerned not only with women's
gains and losses in nutritional status, along with men's,
but with the ease or difficulty they face in delivering an
adequate diet to their families. Since rural nutrition is
rooted in the production base and in women's access to
resources, it is necessary, in the absence of hard
quantitative data, to seek an explanation of nutritional
changes in new economic structures and the position of women
in them.

There had been no official comprehensive survey of
nutritional deficiencies prior to the project. The only
information of patterns of nutritional status in the area
was A. D. Brown's comment, following her anthropological
study of traditional medical practices, that nutrition had
been best in the coastal villages, average in the upper end
of the site, and worst in the low-lying river area.
Interviews with health personnel at the maternal and child
health centers confirmed that this was the distribution of
nutritional status among newly settled residents at the
start of the project. The explanation for the coastal
nutritional status must lie in the product mix of rice and
fish, of which substantial quantities were consumed by the
producers, while those who had resided in the inland hills
had produced a wide range of foods, especially vegetables,
and many had kept chickens and goats. The low-lying river
area had been more rice monocultural and heavily tenanted
under sharecropping arrangements.

Interviews with health personnel at the clinics and
health centers elicited the fact that while calorie

deficiencies could be said to have been virtually
eliminated, there are still manifestations of protein and
vitamin deficiencies. The incidence of blindness, though no
higher than the national average, is persisting. No
increase in birth weights has been noted over the last seven
years. Children's sores are still slow to heal and recovery
from bouts of influenza continues to be protracted. Medical
personnel believe that nutritional status is now quite
uniform over the whole site, although variation is
noticeable by size of household, the larger ones appearing
to exhibit more of the signs of nutritional deficiencies.

Interviews with the women residents themselves
confirmed the geographical distribution of nutritional
changes. The women of former sharecropping households
tended to agree that their diet is now better, notably due
to their own supply of secondary food crops and the small
purchases they make at the village shops. But women in the
coastal villages complained bitterly that they cannot afford
proper food any more, and that a few years ago there were
frequent marital quarrels when wives were unable to include
fish regularly in their husbands' diets.

Nutrition is most appropriately examined in terms of
effective access to food, and the starting point must be an
examination of the foods produced by the residents. The
land resources for'food crops are now equally distributed,
with the exceptions that landless and particularly women-
headed households are discriminated against, and where there
is more than one wife in a household the quantity of red
soil land for secondary food crops does not always increase
proportionately with the number of wives. Moreover, the
quantity of black soil available for rice production, which
is supposed to satisfy household rice consumption
requirements before'beihg a source of money income, is fixed
regardless of household size and canltherefore be seen as a
cause of variation in per capital land availability. Another
source of difference in per capital rice production is the
variability of labor input. In the coastal villages the
women tend ito be left more on theirown to cultivate the
rice crop (as well as their red soil food crops) while the
men go fishing. iTh ir resulting hostility to this work
burden, the income of which they do not control, may have
contributed ito Ithe slightly lower rice yields observed in
this area. It is in the coastal villages that the incidence
of polygamy is perceptibly on the increase, and this must be
affecting the per capital output from the secondary foods and

The annual reports of the project manager provide
supporting evidence for such a conclusion. Recorded yields
are much the same oven the whole site except that they are
slightly lower in coastal areas and in the upper end.

(Yields were measured by random spot checks of the standing
crop just before harvest, and therefore should be free of
the error of under-reporting of harvests.) The annual
reports of the Farmers' Associations include data on
delivery of paddy to the mills both for repayments of credit
and for private sale. 6 An examination of these records
showed that total deliveries tend to be smaller in the
coastal villages. In addition, some of the commentary in
the reports of later years refers to the difficulties large
households had even in meeting credit repayments with paddy
deliveries, since after retaining enough rice for their own
consumption there was scarcely enough to repay credit.

Whereas before part of the fish catch was passed to the
wives of the fishermen to cook, cure, or trade, today the
entire catch enters a processing and marketing complex
outside the control of the fishermen's families. The
fishermen themselves receive their entire earnings in the
form of cash wages. Quantities of fish are sold in shops at
a standard price which provides fairly uniform access to
this source of protein for all the project's resident

With people in the coastal areas consuming no more fish
than people in other areas there can be no doubt that the
protein content of the coastal diet has declined, but
elsewhere it should be possible to conclude that protein
intake has risen, especially in households that were
formerly sharecroppers concentrating on rice production.

The beans, green vegetables, and (in small quantities)
lentils and maize grown on the red soil plots are almost
entirely consumed by the producing household. Women
interviewed during field investigations stated that very
small quantities are traded between households for cash, in
barter exchange, or sometimes repayable in terms of women's
labor on another household's rice land. This trade in
secondary foods is the most direct evidence of the effect of
the allocation of red soil land between households of
varying size, and indicates that for the larger households
the allocation has not been adequate to fulfill its primary
purpose of establishing self-sufficiency in food. Since
agricultural extension workers take little interest in these
crops, and there is no reporting on their yields, it is not
possible to draw hard conclusions about the efficiency of
the division of women's labor between red soil food crops
and rice cultivation, and in particular about whether
women's labor obligations to their husbands' rice lands
means that they cannot spend sufficient time on the red soil
crop plots. However, comments by the women during field
investigation to the effect that they preferred to work on
their red soil crops because they have complete control over
the produce suggests that, wherever possible, they give

these cropsipriority and that this is a perfectly rational
strategy from their viewpoint.

Landless households purchased their food from shops
located in the project area. Prices in these shops have
given rise to numerous complaints and some landless women
said they purchase as much outside the project area as time
permits. During interviews, nutritional extension officers
expressed the opinion that the diet of the landless house-
holds is inferior to that of the farming households, but
this is not substantiated by any concrete evidence.

In spite of the limitations of the production and
institutional structures in improving further nutritional
levels, the nutritional extension workers believe they have
enjoyed successes with their educational programs on better
cooking methods and weaning practices, and in providing
guidance on food purchases. Most of the women interviewed
agreed on the value of this extension information, and it
was noticeable during field investigations that these exten-
sion workers were among the most popular of all management
staff because they had interested themselves in women's
lives. During interviews the nutrition extension workers
volunteered 'the information that the women do not always
have the time and resources to implement the nutrition
advice offered, and that during periods of planting and
harvesting many of the cooking and diet improvements are
dropped, either because of temporary crises of cash avail-
ability or because of lack of time. Medical personnel
interviewed also expressed some concern over cases of prema-
ture weaning when the agricultural cycle imposes an extra
seasonal work burden on women.

The new production base serves to create greater
uniformity of nutritional levels over the whole site with
the majority of residents benefitting slightly. However,
the system of land allocation and the institutional emphasis
on maximizing the marketable surplus of the project, which
weakened women's control over the family's labor and income
resources, meant that the best nutritional use of the
project's capital investment had not been achieved. One
could go further. Given the production and institutional
design of the project, there has been an unnecessary trade-
off between production and nutrition achievements.


It is essential to this study to see how women have
benefitted from the official health services through their
attendance at clinics and their acceptance of the
facilities. Quantitative medical information usually records
the incidence of serious diseases, but other indicators,
such as birthweights, can provide more information on the
basic health status of women.

Together with being primarily responsible for nursing
sick household members and caring for young children,
women's own problems of biological reproduction make them
much more important beneficiaries of any available health
services than men. Thus, although any data on the incidence
of diseases cannot be expected to be broken down by sex,
observations on the population's health are an important
aspect of women's lives.

The project's health centers were established by mid-
1974, but the spread of the smaller clinics has been much
slower, and the last two were yet to be established when
field investigation was undertaken in December, 1978.
Because of this and because the number of villages per
clinic varied over the project area, the health services
have had an uneven distributional impact. The mobile health
extension workers have tried to make up for this by spending
proportionately more time in villages where it is known that
residents are unable or unwilling to travel distances to the

Those parts of the health sector fully in operation
have undertaken some regular data collection. This includes
numbers of inpatients and out-patients and average time of
bed use. 7 The figures for attendance at the maternal and
child health centers are separated from visits to the health
centers by women. The former reveal figures approximately
two-thirds of the latter, but they are also showing the more
rapid upward trend. It must be recognized that the division
of the two kinds of statistics leaves an ambiguity since
visits to the maternal and child health clinics can be used
to raise general health issues as well. Since most of these
services have been operating for no more than two or three
years, and the rest even less, it is too early to comment on
the meaning of these data.

Other regular data collection includes figures on the
major diseases as reported: cholera, malaria, and
tuberculosis. Because there were no baseline data on these
diseases for the area, before and after comparisons are not
possible. However, in areas near the two main health
centers there has been a sharp decline in cholera and
tuberculosis in the last four years. But the incidence of
malaria has been reduced only slightly. 8

Unfortunately, quantitative information on dysentery,
blindness, and skin infections is not yet available, and
health workers had to be relied on for general observations
during field investigation. Dysentery has remained high,
especially in villages at the lower end of the project area.
The women residents who were interviewed in this area
expressed a degree of alarm about dysentery, claiming that
it had greatly increased. They may well be correct, in


spite of the doubt shown by health staff, since this would
be in accord with environmental changes. Dysentery is
particularly acutehere among very young children and, on
closer questioning, a few health workers agreed that there
seems to be a peaki in reported !dysentery just after
harvesting, which is thought to be associated with premature
weaning. Dysentery is seen by health workers not so much as
a killer but as a chronic disabling factor. Blindness has
so far remained high, but it is early yet for any trend to
be discernible. Health personnel are relying on the greater
quantity of green vegetables in the diet to reduce the
incidence of loss of sight. Likewise there is optimism
about reducing the incidence of skin infections. Residents
at the upper end of the project area seem to be much freer
of infections than the average.

Even when it is in full operation, the usefulness of
regular collection of health statistics must be limited by
the fact that they indicate disease rather than health.
However, one statistic, birthweight, is a revealing measure
of women's general health status. Despite overall
improvements in nutrition, there has been no noticeable
increase in birthweights recorded in any of the maternal and
child health clinics over the few years they have been
operating. But there is already evidence of seasonality in
birthweights which may indicate seasonality in women's
energy balance (and insofar as this is associated with
intensified peak harvesting periods,i women may seasonally
have less time for child care and may terminate
breastfeeding). When asked by the field investigator
whether there was a noticeable seasonal variation in
premature birthdates, medical staff replied that they were
unaware of it. The staff of the maternal and child health
clinics have campaigned vigorously for better childbirth
practices and infant hygiene. To that end a significant
addition to the health sector has been the training and
incorporation of traditional midwives into the health
service. This has also contributed to better communication
between the women and the clinics.

Family planning has so far been regarded as generally
successful where this service has been made available.
Almost 2,000 women have accepted IUDs and approximately 450
are on the pill. It is expected that the pill will
supercede the IUD' ir the next fewj years. Condoms are
available but few have come forward to make use of them.
There are ten family-planning field-workers who undertake
house-to-house visiting, and they are reputed to have been
responsible for almost 60 percent of the IUD and pill

The reduction of cholera and tuberculosis, but the
persistence of dysentery, malaria, and skin infections and

constant birthweights, demonstrates that the overall health
measures are curative rather than preventive. It is an
inescapable conclusion that the lack of safe supplies of
domestic water imposes a burden on both residents and
health workers since most of the waterborne diseases are
showing resistance to home extension work and drugs, and
their incidence is highest in the more populated downstream
areas. People wash and bathe in the irrigation streams, and
they collect water in tin drums and cans for home use and
carry it to the houses. Whatever the balance between the
factors of downstream location and population concentration,
it can be deduced that water from the irrigation system is
cumulatively polluted as it moves to the coast. The
provision of safe water supplies never reached the planning
agenda. One well was sunk in 1973, but when waterborne
diseases did not appear to decline in the village and it had
become obvious that the well was polluted within a year,
project officials were reluctant to sink any more. No
attempt seems to have been made to find a way of securing
wells against pollution. With the cost of tap water beyond
the resources of management, women continue to rely on
obtaining domestic water from the irrigation system.
Extension workers continue to impress upon the women the
importance of boiling water, and this exercise may well have
lowered the incidence of dysentery from what it would
otherwise have been.

Before the project there was no refuse problem because
there was less waste and this was burned off or left in the
forest to rot. However, the advancement of a cash economy
has meant that quantities of tins and softer packaging have
accumulated and cannot so easily be disposed of. A system
of refuse collection has been organized in about half of the
villages, and it is hoped to extend this to all villages in
the next few years. However, between collections the refuse
dumps at the edge of the villages remain a health hazard,
especially for children seeking room to play.

Health, or rather the incidence of disease, does not
appear to be closely related to the production base of
the residents' livelihoods. Rice yields, household cash
income, and agricultural extension work are all somewhat
inferior in villages at the upper end of the project area,
yet the evidence gleaned from the various health clinics
during field investigation indicates that diseases are less
prevalent and general health better here.


In any assessment of progress made in literacy and
education, it is necessary to review the facilities
available, women's absolute and relative effective access to

them, and obstacles in the conditions of work and social
life to their attendance.

With no matching baseline data on levels of literacy
and school enrollments,i no quantitative comparisons can be
made about education before and after implementation.
Moreover, along with other public facilities, establishment
of the schools was delayed and only 60 percent of the
primary schools were operating by early 1978. The last
project manager's annual report (1978) quoted official
estimates (from surveys) for literacy rates for all men and
all women of 20 and 12 percent, respectively, with much
higher rates'among fewer residents near the coast. For the
age group from 16 to 25 years the rates were 25 and 16

The same report stated that 46 percent of primary-aged
boys and 32 percent of primary-aged girls were enrolled in
schools. None of the planned secondary schools is
functioning yet.; However, enrollments are a poor measure of
effective education or of graduation. The drop-out rate and
absenteeism come between these figures and any proper
assessment of their meaning. With the reduced dependence on
male children's labor and the greater dependence on female
children's labor, absentee rates for girls have been much
higher than for boys. This means that the difference
between rates of enrollment and graduation is likely to be
higher for girls than boys.

That there is a preference on the part of parents for
educating sons is apparent from the data on enrollments,
even though education costs parents very little, involving a
small nominal fee and the cost of exercise books. When
women were asked if their daughters and sons helped on the
farms they all gave the same answers:, daughters from the age
of eight years assisted women at transplanting time, on
weeding the rice crop, and looking after smaller children,
while boys helped during the rice harvest. But daughters
also helped their mothers in the homes. Demand for
daughters' labor in particular can be expected to keep them
away from school even!when the schools are functioning and
the girls are enrolled.

Adult literacy also fell victim to the period of
austerity, although since it is less costly it has been
developed ahead of secondary schools. Inevitably the
enrollment rate for men has been much higher than for women,
due to women's lack of time and the male orientation of the
Residents' Associations' channels of communication. Among
the adult female population in the villages, enrollments
have never exceeded six percent, while male enrollments have
varied between 9 and 28 percent.


It is crucial to an examination of women's work load to
understand how changes in labor requirements and any forms
of mechanization are distributed between men and women. In
addition, it is necessary to see whether women's work is
affected by the assistance or withdrawal of other family
labor, by changes in exchange and hired labor, and by their
own freedom to organize a more rational allocation of their
time between tasks.

The new rice technology, the staggered arrival of
irrigation water, the balance between red soil plots and
rice plots, and the uniform allocation of land per household
had the effect of altering work patterns and labor relations
between households. With no change in sex-typing of
agricultural tasks, except in the case of some men assisting
with the weeding and men appropriating more of the work in
the fields at harvest time (while women had a heavier work
burden of cooking meals for the harvesters), the more labor-
intensive rice technology committed women to a great many
more hours in the year and much longer days at seasonal peak
periods in rice cultivation. It should be remembered that
child care and housework must be added to this regimen of
productive labor. Changes in men's work schedule were
confined to ploughing and harvesting rice twice a year,
with exchange labor extending those periods but not making
them any more intensive than previously. Thus while women
work more intensively on a greater number of days and
perform agricultural work of one kind or another almost
everyday, men work more days of the year but no more
intensively on any of those days. It might be said that
while men are less underemployed, women are more fully

On the face of it the staggered planting and harvesting
times, the facility of exchange labor, and the greater cash
profits from rice cultivation--which could be used to hire
additional labor--made for a rational allocation of labor on
the site. Had women's work commitments been determined by
and limited to this framework, the design of the production
aspects of the project could be considered moderately
gratifying to women, even if they were applying more hours a
year to the rice plots than the men (a situation they were
used to). But there were two factors which caused women
stress and conflict.

The first was the allocation of their time between
secondary food crops and the rice crops. The conflict
between these two food sectors occurred mainly at the time
of weeding the rice crop, because whereas the women were
prepared to forego work on their secondary food crops at

rice transplanting and harvesting, they were keen to return
to these crops in between. Much depended on the movements
and cooperation of husbands. It has been seen that when
husbands were absent bn fishing expeditions the women took
the opportunity to be slack in weeding. Underlying this
conflict was a measure of resentmention the part of women of
their obligation to a crop to whose cash returns they had no
direct access (since this was governed by the arrangements
between men and the cooperatives). From the viewpoint of
the project, given the constraint on mobility of labor
imposed by sex-typingl of tasks, the allocation of women's
labor between secondary food crops and the rice crop might
be seen as approximating some optimality, but from the
viewpoint of women it appeared very differently. They were
bound to arrange (as far as they were permitted to do so)
the substitutability of their labor on secondary food crops
and rice in accordance with the resources it brought them
directly. In this way it can be shown that the trade-off
between one kind of "household" activity and another was
different for women, on the one hand, and for project
management (and men) on the other.

The second factor was that greater household cash
income was not used to ease women's extra weeding work or
their very long days at planting and harvesting times.
Women interviewed during field investigations complained
that they had to spend up to three hours a day in additional
cooking at harvest time if they had only two pots to cook.
They were also expected to join the harvesters in the fields
for some hours of the day. The stress that this produced
showed up in less time spent on housework, child care, and
breastfeeding. There has been no introduction of any
household technology; cooking and washing methods remain the
same. Nor do there appear to have been attempts made at
collective child care, perhaps due to the declining
percentages of women among harvesters and to the fact that
labor organization was appropriated by the husbands. Three
instances of women being hired to assist in the cooking
tasks were mentioned, but the other women interviewed
claimed this was unusual. Had women been in control of the
cash returns from rice production there might well have been
a more rational use of hired labor and no need for premature
weaning of infants.

Child labor had always been drawn upon during heavy
labor-demand periods, and female child labor had
supplemented women's labor in housework and weeding. But
with the introduction of new production patterns there was a
marked divergence in the use made of girls' and boys' labor.
The staggering of planting and harvesting, and the
concomitant expansion of exchange labor, have sharply
reduced the!amount of children's labor in the fields at this
time. However, girls are now performing more weeding and

they assist their mothers in preparing meals for the
exchange labor. They can also be seen working on the red
soil plots. Boys, on the other hand, are now freer of labor
commitments than previously. This has had a recognized
effect on the relative attendance of boys and girls in the

One period of the agricultural cycle has been eased for
farming women. The quantity of paddy retained for manual
processing is less than it used to be, in spite of the
greater harvest. This is due to the new rice milling
facilities and the Farmers' Associations' system of taking
delivery of paddy as credit repayment.

Two other tasks that women have traditionally performed
have also undergone change. Fetching water used to account
for up to 1 1/2 hours a day, but now, with access points as
close as the irrigation streams, all the women interviewed
claimed they spend only an average of half an hour a day
fetching water for domestic purposes. Fuel for cooking used
to be obtained from nearby forests and from the preparation
of bullock dung cakes. Sometimes it was purchased. Today,
very little is obtained from the forests since resettlement
placed the population at a distance from this source and
most areas of woodland are now under protective
restrictions. Bullock dung processing continues. But a
much higher proportion of fuel is purchased in the form of
wood and coal. This new development has reduced time spent
by women in obtaining fuel but has created another problem:
obtaining cash from their husbands or from the sale of small
surpluses from their red soil plots. During field
investigation each woman interviewed was asked if she
experienced difficulty in purchasing fuel and all replied
affirmatively that finding the money was the problem.

It could be assumed that the burden of work in
polygamous households is easier since land per adult woman
is less and childcare can be shared. Over the range of
household and agricultural tasks on the household's land
this was confirmed during field investigations. But women
in polygamous households felt the pinch of low per capital
income at their disposal sufficiently to occasionally join
landless women in working for wages at transplanting and
harvesting. Even so, given the limited employment
opportunities for all landless women, it is reasonable to
conclude that women in polygamous households did not average
as much work as other women.

Landless women now have greater regular employment
throughout the year, yet are probably under less stress in
productive work, even at peak labor-demand periods, than
landed women. But their incomes are also less and this in
itself contributes to additional effort in another area.

It was landless women who complained most about the high
prices in shops and they explained to the field investigator
that they walked farther afield to find cheap sources of
food, fuel, and clothes. They also found that child care
problems were acute at certain periods of the agricultural
cycle, but some of them complained that it was a general
problem throughout the year.

It is difficult to see how women find time or energy to
join in the adult! literacy classes or in communal
activities. With effort a woman could attend some meetings,
but her evenings are g nerally taken up with household tasks
of which her husband s free. It is also not clear, and
presumably is not to er, how literacy would benefit her,
given that her days a e committed to household maintenance
and to a disproportionate share in supporting the economic
base of the project.


It is important to study the means of women's direct
and indirect access to land, credit, extension information,
marketing outlets, technology, and the returns to household
labor. In particular it is relevant to see where they have
made gains or losses, absolutely and relative to men.

The Nemow Project Plan followed the usual custom of
confirming male heads of household as the new class of
landowning small farmers. A woman's "access" to rice land
is not as farmer in her own right, nor even as a
sharecropper. It is akin to bonded service labor in a
special relationship to the farmer, with benefits depending
on individual character rather than institutionalized rights
and guarantees. There is no equality of access to rice land
between the sexes. Furthermore, it was suitable to the
aggregate production targets that households should grow a
large part of their own secondary food requirements on the
red soil plots. This subsidized the production of rice by
contributing to the maintenance of the landed labor force
and freed the project planners to organize the production
and marketing of the staple commercial crop. That it was no
real concession to women is confirmed by the fact that
whereas the rice plots could be inherited (and inheritance
by sons was officially encouraged) the red soil plots were
on loan. The women who were interviewed were asked what
they thought of this kind of land allocation. All but one
expressed anger. Two pointed out that if they "lost their
husbands" they had nowhere to go -- which essentially means
loss of access to a livelihood. Two women volunteered the
unexpected statement that "all the women wanted rice plots
of their own."

In the future it is expected that some rice plots may
be exchanged in sale, but clearly, capital for any off-farm
enterprise cannot be raised through the sale of red soil
plots. The land reform also means that women-headed
households and women on their own through divorce or
widowhood have no right of access at all to land. The
service nature of this bonded labor is reinforced by the
fact that women perform most of the work in the rice fields,
but they still do not have access to agricultural extension
assistance, waiting instead for their husbands to pass on
relevant technical information. Agricultural extension
workers who were interviewed stated that there had been
discussion on directing these services to women, but this
was voted down on the grounds that it would mean doubling
the extension effort. There appears to have been no attempt
made to select specific technical information relevant to
women's agricultural tasks and to find channels of
communicating it to them. Moreover, since the secondary
food crops which women were granted charge of were not
included in the project's marketable surplus, and therefore
did not achieve the status of a bankable investment, there
were no grounds in the prevailing logic for providing
extension information for them. During the field
investigation one member of the agricultural extension team
went into great detail about the technical possibilities of
extending secondary food crop acreage to black soils as
these crops would do equally well there, and of applying
different packages of fertilizers according to the quality
of the soil. When asked whether this would be profitable
on a credit basis, he said he was convinced it would be for
many parts of the site, but that the technological arguments
were confused by the fact that the red soil plots carried a
variety of crops with their individual responses to the soil
fertility and fertilizers. He claimed that specialization
and the application of agricultural science could create
large marketable surpluses but that it required planning,
research and organization, and "nobody was interested."
When asked whether the Farmers' Associations or Residents'
Associations had ever raised the issue, he shrugged his
shoulders and said, "The men are happy with what they've

Some of the consequences of women's lack of control
over the income from rice production have been discussed.
Their frequent complaints of high food prices in the shops
can be seen in relation to the purchasing power at their
disposal as well as to off-site prices. Perhaps the most
eloquent testament to the sexes' unequal access to household
income is the appearance of bicycles, transistor radios, and
even watches and motor scooters (largely utilized by men)
alongside the slight improvements in the average diet. Most
revealing of all, the contrast between essential and non-
essential consumer goods appears strongest in the coastal

villages where therelhave been large cash injections from
both rice cultivation and fishing. At the same time as
women have suffered a weakening of their traditional access
to household cash income through the institutionalized
promotion of their husbands' rights, other women in the
former monocultural tenanted areas have gained the ability
to control income in kind through access to secondary food
plots. The new uniformity of this self-provisioning section
per household made +or a variable pattern of gains and
losses. Itl is' not possible to gauge how women have gained
overall in absolute terms from higher household income.
That the average diet has improved is one indication. That
more clothes have been purchased is another. But this was
achieved by a more intensive application of women's labor,
and one indicator of women's general health and strength--
birthweight of offspring--suggests that an increased work
load has literally eat n up the nutritional gains. It seems
that any net benefit they did win was not in proportion to
that won by men.

The major household budget decision concerns the amount
of rice income which will be passed on to women, and it is
very clear that this decision lies entirely with men. But
women continue their traditional responsibility of making
essential purchases. Thirty-one women were asked a variety
of questions Iabout financial decision-making in the
household. Their responses are shown in the table on the
following page. The two landed women who stated that they
now earned more came from former sharecropping households.
The failure of landed'women to have any direct expenditure
in other items in contrast to landless women is due to rent
paid by the latter, but also reveals that women are confined
to handling only the minimal essentials. The difference
between the' responses of landed and landless women to the
questions "Do you get enough money for..." is interesting
since the latter were poorer by any standard of measurement.
There is, 'of coursel no objective yardstick of what is
enough. But these responses can be seen in light of felt
deprivation in relation to the amount of money women knew
was available to the "household." Replies to the last
question are revealing as they indicate that the landed
women understood that they had to keep asking their husbands
for more money.

It is difficult to see how women can be granted greater
access to household cash income without radical
institutional changes, principally in land reform and
allocation, and in the structure and functioning of the
Farmers' Associations. But the moment when these changes
might have been relatively easy to make is long past. There
remains the possibility that women can devise their own
cooperative arrangements to seek income-gaining employment.
Credit-savings unions of women existed in coastal areas





N Yes No N Yes No
Do you earn money yourself? 27 16 11 9 9 0

If "yes," do you earn more now 16 2 17 9 9 0

If "no," did you used to earn 11 11 0

N Food Clothes Fuel Educ.* Other N Food Clothes Fuel Educ. Other

Do you always spend your own
money on certain items? 16 16 3 16 0 0 9 9 9 9 0 9

Do you ask your husband for
money for individual items 27 27 27 27 0 0 9** -

Special seasonal Special Seasonal
N Yes No Shortages N Yes No Shortages

Do you get enough money 27 4 27 27 9 3 6 9
for food

Do you get enough money
for clothes 27 8 19 0 9 2 7 9

Do you get enough money
for fuel 27 0 27 0 9 0 9 9

Does your husband give you
money regularly for house-
hold needs 27 15 12 9 0 9**

Is this amount supposed to
be for all your purchases 27 0 27 -

*N= 3 here. Education is discussed in the family, but **These proved to be irrelevant questions, since income was
expenses are paid by the husband. pooled and was not regular.

before the project, and these might have been seen as an
embryonic form of such an institution. But they have been
undermined by women's loss of money income in the new
production structures, so that once again we see how early
options taken by the planners pre-empted choices for later
corrective action.

Traditional women' s exchange labor groups, where they
had existed for transplanting rice, were another possible
association on which something might have been built. But
the obvious extension of them to rice processing, has been
precluded by the establishment of the mills. Futhermore,
the social relations between women in these exchange groups
have been seriously weakened by the new practice of the men
making all the labor arrangements.

If new off-farm income-gaining employment were to be
promoted for women to give them equal access to cash income,
it would have to come about largelyion the initiative of a
government department., Any light manufacturing based on the
produce of the project would require inter-departmental
coordination. With a history of poor coordination, the mood
of financial austerity, and counter-arguments (such as
already increasing household income and women's present full
occupation), it is unlikely that anything will be done.
With a structure of village patriarchy installed through the
Residents' Associations, new ideas about opportunities for
women's equal access to income have a poor chance of coming
from the residents themselves through constituted channels
of communication.


Involvement in social and political affairs results
from a number of factors, but evidence of women's
involvement| comes from the sexual composition of the
leadership 'of accepted institutions, the conditions of
women's access to them, and the existence of alternative
ways in which women can express their interests.

Population resettlement in more densely concentrated
grouping has inevitably led to new socio-political relations
for many of the residents. But everywhere on the site the
focal point for community expression has been the new
village Residents' Associations which were planned as the
primary unit of government. However, the leadership of
these associations is dominated by men appointed for their
prominence in rice cultivation. In the six villages visited
there was no instance of women being elected. When asked
about other villages, project staff could not call to mind
any women iwho have been elected. It appears that these
associations are the civil counterparts of the Farmers'

Associations, and that together they form a formidable
village patriarchy.

The subject of safe supplies of domestic water probably
best illustrates the failure to voice women's interests in
this patriarchal institution. Some of the Residents'
Associations initially asked for local wells to be built,
but once they received a negative response they abandoned
their request. In the last three years the management has
heard of further requests for wells only through complaints
made by many individual women to health personnel. Two
years ago the management proposed to the "brother
institutions" of Farmers' Associations that they impose a
levy of their profits to finance wells, but this was
vehemently rejected by all of them.


How is women's legal and official status affected by
their relative ownership of the means of production, by
their position in the social relations of production, by
determinants of marriage customs, and by the strength of
supportive kinship groups?

The economic base of women's social and legal status in
the Nemow Project is weak. Their rights to land inheritance
are now very uncertain, while their rights to the returns to
their labor in agriculture are more restricted than before.
The inheritance situation is bound to affect women's future
legal and social status. During the current period of
amortization of new leases only one son can inherit if the
father should die. From the tone of discussions with the
project management during field investigation, it was
deduced that there is likely to be pressure in future for
son-only inheritance in order to restrain land
fragmentation. Because under Moslem law daughters do not
inherit as many productive resources as sons, parents bestow
dowries on their daughters in order to marry them well, and
the increased monetization of the local economy may well
reinforce this practice, in turn confirming daughters'
exclusion from land inheritance.

There has been no obvious change in the incidence of
polygamy over most of the project area, although it may
decline due to the restricted availability of red soil
plots. However, in the coastal villages greater cash income
from the combination of agricultural and fishing livelihoods
appears to have encouraged a slight increase in polygamy,
according to the project manager. During interviews health
extension workers remarked that they believe the age at
marriage has risen for women. They base this on their
discussions with families. It is not easy to see why this

should be so with the dowry system and polygamy being
maintained. i Schooling may be having an effect, while the
usefulness of female family labor in farming could mean that
older daughters are being retained in the family until
younger daughters reach their full working capacity. If
this is true it might lower total fertility rates in the
future, but the demand for family labor may counter this.
It is too soon in the life of the project to make any
observations on changes in the incidence of divorce, which
is assumed by project personnel to have been the same as for
other rural areas in the country. But it might be surmised
that, with! their more precarious legal basis for a
livelihood, women :at least would try harder to avoid
divorce. There is no reason to believe that men's greater
cash income would lead them to discard their wives,
particularly if family!labor is needed more and the issue of
child custody creates a struggle. Taking second wives might
be seen by men as an easier option.

Resettlement, as well as the aggressive promotion of
the individual, household as a separate profit-making
enterprise, hasi weakened kinship ties at a time when the
threats to women posed by divorce or widowhood are greater.
When asked about visits to their parental homes, the general
reply from women was that they see less of their relatives
now. When asked specifically about contact with their
brothers, they claimed that they hardly saw them at all now.
It is reasonable to conclude that brothers would be less
inclined to! provide omen with a home in the case of such
need; especially since Iwomen are less likely to bring
productive resources with them. Corrections to women's
reduced power and greater dependency are difficult to
envision against their backdrop of the new, seemingly
monolithic patriarchy. Any countervailing institutional
reforms would have to be strongly supported by officialdom.

Finally, the new legal and social status of women
cannot be seen as encouraging any desire on their part to
assert control over their fertility. Their greater
dependence must mean that part of their minimal strategy is
to go along with their husband's ideas on the household's
demographic behavior.



The program of resettlement and land reform had the
effect of creating a high degree of uniformity of income,
patterns of consumption, work commitments and living styles
between households. Those who were formerly hired in upland
sites or were tenants in low-lying sites enjoyed the
greatest improvements in real household income and access to
facilities. Nutrition improved marginally for everyone, but
in coastal villages protein consumption appears to have
declined because of the modernization of the fishing
industry. It is too soon to comment on whether final
production targets will be achieved, but there is no reason
to doubt their success. In spite of this it cannot be said
that women have enjoyed a clear net benefit.

Landed women are working more intensively than before
and still work much harder than their menfolk. The majority
of the reduced numbers of landless women have more wage
employment year-round although they have not gained as much
in wage employment as landless men. A small minority of
landless women, including women on their own with children,
have clearly failed to benefit in straight economic terms.
With higher household cash income and public welfare
services, women should have found it easier to meet the
basic physical needs of themselves and their families.
However, the sexual division of land ownership, of access to
production and civic institutions, and of access to
household cash income, the greater health hazards from
greater population concentration without safe water
supplies, and the greater demands on women's time and bodily
resources must be seen to offset many of the gains made from
greater household income and health services. The failure
to secure for women equal access to household cash income,
and in many cases the loss of their personal income from
trading surpluses of subsistence crops and fish, led to
common complaints. Resentment over working on their
husbands' rice plots sometimes led to women declining to
work on rice plots when their husbands were absent, or to
women in polygamous landed households seeking wage
employment instead. Most revealing of all was the statement
of two women that the women wanted rice plots of their own.
With implementation of the welfare sector being held up
through later financial problems, and with the early
confirmation of male control over commercialized
agricultural production and all new institutions, it was
inevitable that provision for dealing with matters of
special concern to women and of receiving their complaints
in an organized manner was quite inadequate.

The weakened inheritance rights of women and kinship
support systems, and women's de facto exclusion from
consultation and village decision-making results in making
women legal and social minors while holding them responsible
for the bulk of the productive work.

There can be some justifiable apprehension over the
consequences of the project for population issues. This is
so because new production structures have increased the
demand for family labor, encouraged girls' absenteeism from
school (now and in the future), not released the family's
ability to make full use of health services or meet basic
nutritional needs, land in general lowered the self-
determination of women.

Girls' regular assistance in the home and in
agriculture varies closely with work pressures on their
mothers. The increased work pressures on mothers has an
impact on the educational prospects of daughters, and
encourages their absenteeism. If this continues,
differentials in male and female literacy may tend to
increase in the next generation. IAge at marriage may be
increasing, but with the education sector not fully
established the cause of this can hardly be attributed to
rising expectations of young females. It is more likely
that the demand for their labor on the family holdings is
the cause. While this demand may reduce the years of
potential active reproduction, it does not reduce the
overall demand for family labor and hence desired family
size. Thus one would tend to expect the total fertility
rate among the landed to remain the same. This is not
necessarily ithe case for landless women, whose children are
used much less inten ively in agriculture, working only
casually at peak seasonal times.

In spite of the heavy concentration of health services
in the Nemow Project, birthweights are constant and the
persistence of infant diarrhoeal disease arising from
polluted water or ongoing malnutrition does not motivate
lowered family size. The intensification of the seasonality
of women's work Iloads could result in a rise in infant
morbidity. iFurthermore, infants' general nutritional status
could have an important bearing on fertility outcomes.


Before embarking on the subject of how the Nemow
Project might otherwise have been planned, it is helpful to
identify the trade-offs between women's interests and
development goals, and to distinguish between trade-offs
arising from the particular design of the project and those
which appear as irreducible, inevitable ones. In doing this

we are implicitly asking: When are women's interests a
production item and when are they a consumption item on the
agenda? Do some women always have to lose? And do all
women always have to lose something? Finally, it is
important to understand whether a trade-off occurred because
of an ideological bias in the plan, because of a lack of
baseline information, or for administrative convenience.

There is no reason to believe that the project's
marketable surplus of rice would have been in jeopardy had
landed women's work load been eased. The farming
household's use of exchange and hired labor could have
extended to transplanting, weeding, harvesting, cooking
meals for harvesters, and collective childcare had control
over labor arrangements and over rice profits been more
democratically distributed between the sexes. The problem
lies not in technical or commercial non-validity of less
arduous work loads for women, but in the convenient and non-
disputable power of patriarchy to allocate family net income
between physical relief and items of consumer expenditure.
It could be suggested that rice yields and surpluses might
have even improved had women's work load and resentment over
it been modified.

In this way, women's benefits from development can be
seen as a factor favoring a higher economic internal rate of
return. Likewise, even greater nutritional improvements
could have been achieved at no cost to rice surpluses (a)
had women had more control over the returns to their labor,
and (b) had women been given access to extension services
and to technical help on their red soil plots (which would
have led to a greater supply of other foods and more cash
for women). But would rice surpluses have been jeopardized
on account of men's resentment of women having equal access
to rice profits? It is difficult to see why, since men
stood to improve their position in absolute terms with the
new rice technology anyway.

It is doubtful whether the production goals of the
project would have suffered had landless women enjoyed equal
access with landless men to the newly created full-time wage
employment in the rice and fish processing mills and in the
various jobs provided by project management. A small
minority of landless women, mostly single mothers or women
in families handicapped by ill health, failed to gain
regular access to agricultural wage labor and were dependent
on casual work. That women failed to obtain these positions
must be put down to an ideological presupposition that men
are the more important providers for the family.

As production structures are arranged at Nemow there is
bound to be a trade-off between developing marketable
surpluses and kinship ties. Commercialization and the


encouragement of priva e profit accumulation can be expected
to weaken traditional gift exchange and kinship ties,
especially sibling relationships. With these factors
diminishing the possibility for divorced landed women to
find a decent alternative livelihood, women are likely to
try hard to avoid divorce. One result could be the
persistence of the present incidence of polygamy,
particularly since family labor is more useful now to the
male head of household. This makes it all the more
imperative that women s individual access to resources be

No justification exists, in terms of safeguarding food
production goals by avoiding trade-offs, for denying women
ownership of red soil plots. This practice must be seen as
being rooted in the notion that largely self-provisioning
subsistence plots for secondary food should be attached to
husbands (that is, to owners of rice plots) and to their
life cycles, and that wives are potentially a "floating or
substitutable population." This says something about the
planners' view of women's legal and economic status and the
expendability of the lives of widowed and divorced women,
not to mention their regard for the survival of women-headed
households. It is a fact that women do all the work on
these crops and therefore have some "comparative labor
advantage in subsistence crop production." But in addition,
they spend more hours per year on the rice plots than do
their husbands, thus having an "absolute labor advantage"
over men on rice production. Had they, rather than men,
owned the rice plots, there might have been greater societal
benefits accruing from the expanded use of exchange and
hired labor, increased girls' school attendance, and the
satisfaction of basic needs. The bestowal of ownership
rights of rice plots to men only has to be seen as
essentially an ideological bias based on an image of what a
modern farming household should look like regardless of
traditional inheritance rights and the legal status of
women. Doubtless, existing patriarchy would not have
tolerated men being excluded from land ownership, however
rational could be the case for that on other grounds, but
separate men's and women's rice plots, or joint ownership,
would not have offended the spirit of traditional laws.
Sex-typing of particular tasks would no doubt have
continued, but women would have been in a far stronger
position to enforce a more rational use of all sources of
labor and of !all income and to exercise an efficacious
economic exchange with their husbands.

In spite of awarding rice lands only to men, there was
the option, at the appraisal stage, of incorporating women
in the Farmers' Associations in some way. But failure to do
this pre-empted the possibility of women's direct access to
extension services and to the income of the main commercial

crop, rice. Thus, it can be seen how the options taken at
the identification, feasibility, and appraisal stages
progressively narrowed any later options of project
management to facilitate women's access to the returns to
fixed resources.

The Residents' Associations remain the sole duly
constituted channel of requests and complaints for all
residents, but women have shown a preference for voicing
their problems of work and lack of purchasing power to
various project staff with whom they came into contact. An
official change in the leadership of the Residents'
Associations to include a quota of women would be an
improvement. But there remains the problem that women have
less time than men to attend meetings or that the meeting
are scheduled at inappropriate times for them. A separate
"women's caucus" within the Association with direct access
to the project manager might be more effective, and
preferable to the traditional association of women in
savings/credit unions or exchange labor groups whose bases
have already been eroded by production changes. Such a
caucus could be guaranteed a hearing at all general meetings
of Residents' Associations so that women's collective
recommendations and complaints would be heard by men
collectively and not confined to individual household

The trade-off between irrigation and population
concentration, on the one hand, and continued or worsening
malaria and dysentery on the other, appears to be
unavoidable unless the government is sufficiently concerned
about health to spend part of its profits from the project
on the "consumption item" of health. It can be argued that
this is a consumption item only in the short term. If the
government recognized the extra burden on society of family
sickness and of infant mortality, then the long-term
benefits of health expenditure would be more efficient
agricultural labor and more stable demographic behavior. If
health services are more selective and strategically
concentrated, and if safe domestic water supplies are
developed in downstream areas, the benefit-cost ratio of
this expenditure could be high.

The principle of selective intervention and seasonal
concentration of family planning and health services can be
applied to counter periods of premature weaning and extended
to counter peak periods of general illnesses, such as
dysentery or malnutrition, to protect vulnerable-aged
children. The interventions required to achieve long-term
reductions in fertility may rely on a restructuring of the
production sector. In brief, by expanding women's access to
resources--land especially--and including them in the
political process that makes production decisions, there

should be beneficial reductions in their work load and
support for their status. This might lead to more positive
role models of women!, reduced labor demand for female
children, and strengthened decision-making powers in the
home, all contributing to expanding the base of women's
status beyond the bearing of children. It is worth
considering I that the positive relationship between a
favorable income distribution and declining fertility
extends to the distribution of income within households.

The loss of coastal women's rights to part of the fish
catch was inevitable as this was a case of an industry being
appropriated by extra-household powers. Likewise the
diminution of the protein diet of coastal villagers was an
unavoidable trade-off, promoting a greater marketable fish
surplus for the benefit of the whole project and other

The study of the impact of the Nemow Project on women
reveals that women's interests and the basic needs of their
families need not be viewed as consumption items on the
total plan budget. There is no necessary trade-off between
achieving production goals and raising the economic, social,
and legal status of women. Indeed, there are many potential
instances of mutual benefits between the project's aims and
women's interests. That these opportunities were missed
must be put down to a combination of ideological bias, lack
of information, and a desire for expediency among planners
and administrators. .The principal lesson of the Nemow
Project is that many of the weaknesses in the performance of
production, income distribution, education, health and
nutrition can be traced back to women's lack of access to
resources in their own right.

From the above it can be concluded that there was more
than one way of achieving the production goals of the Nemow
Project. That women! had a full role to play cannot be
questioned, but the terms on which they were obliged to
fulfill that role left much to be desired. Women's role in
the project and the subsequent effect on production goals
and the satisfaction of basic needs is illustrated by the
diagram on the following page. The diagram shows how the
initial option taken in relation to the distribution of
productive resources! between the sexes determined the
relative representation of the sexes in the Farmers' and
Residents' iAssociations as well as the derived factor of
unequal income distribution within the household. Once this
structure was laid down successive and cumulative
consequences were inevitable. Some later ameliorative
changes in the structure and functions of the Residents'
Association could have: been made, but it is difficult to see
how the allocation of rice income and labor use could have
been properly corrected by reform of the Farmers'

Association without a change in the sexual division of
authority over rice plots. And while the constraints on
women's own choices were cumulatively strengthened, there
was no remedial intervention by project management.


The entries in these ENDNOTES are prototypical, and not
actual references, as the Nemow Case is a hypothetical study
drawn from a variety of field experiences.

1 See The Nemow Project: An Appraisal, Ministry of
Planning, 1963.

2 A.D. Brown, "Traditional Medicine Practices in the
Nemow Valley," Journal of Tropical Nutrition, July 1953.

3 W. Ennismore, "The Sexual Division of Labor in
Agriculture in the District of Nemow River," Review of
Development Issues, June 1955.

4 J. Clark, "Sources of Seasonal Labor in the Nemow
Valley," Journal of Labour Statistics, October 1960.

5 Annual Progress Reports, 1973-1978, Project Manager,

6 Annual Reports, 1970-1978, Farmers' Association,
Nemow River Project.

7 Annual Progress Reports, 1970-1978, Project Manager.

8 Annual Progress Reports, 1970-1978, Project Manager.



In designing a format for an evaluation of the impact
on women of a large scale rural development project, three
reference points were applied. The Ifirst was consideration
of the audience. The primary readership of this kind of
evaluation is assumed to consist of aid donors, project
planners and designers, and participants in aid agencies'
training courses. The format should,i therefore,

a. Respond to the stated goals of the
project planners;

b. Be educational in that it encourages
recognition of !women's special interests
and needs and hence expands the scope of the
customary objectives of project planning;

c. Embody an analysis which is not couched
in the rigorous form of any or several partic-
ular disciplines;1

d. Be sympathetic to the different actors
and sectoral interests of project implementa-

e. Point out the areas of flexibility or
rigidity in the project, and the stages when
corrective intervention might have been made;

f. Describe alternative ingredients in the
design which would have promoted women's
interests while securing the main goals of
the project.

The two main implications of the above are that:

1. In deciding how to select and order the criteria
for evaluating the success of the project, the criteria
ought to be presented in the form of the official objectives
as well as Iadditional ones which elucidate the particular
impact of the project on women.

2. A section on the phasing of implementation should be
included to demonstrate both the accretion of options taken
which had an impact on women and the moments when options
were still reasonably open.

The second reference point was identification of what
women ought to have gained or secured from the project.
This was difficult to establish because project designs and
appraisals rarely indicate a wide range of goals for women
and because the subject of women's ultimate status can be
seen as highly contentious. There is no normative image of
the fruits of development for women or of women's ultimate
emancipation. Moreover, a single project is limited in
scope and can only act on the givens of the local situation.
Nevertheless, it can be assumed that there are certain
conditions existent among women which any project ought to
attempt to improve upon, and there is a fairly wide
consensus on what those conditions are: health; nutrition;
work load; access to resources commensurate with
responsibilities: and roles in decision making in the
household, in the village and in the community, as well as
in the planning of the project.

It is always necessary to be mindful of what women have
lost, as well as what they have or have not gained.
Inevitably women, like men, experience "trade-offs" during
the development process, and it is important to recognize
that there are numerous economic, social and political
variables which undergo change in various directions.
Hence, a degree of restraint is in order when trying to draw
final conclusions on the net balance of gains and losses to
women's overall situation. Since one of the functions of
this format is to educate, the evaluation is written in such
a way that it explains how certain results came about, so
that planners and project staff are implicitly asked the
question, "Was this expected from the plan?"

The third reference point for the format is the need to
illustrate that there is more than one way of achieving
certain economic goals. The implication of this is that
more than one alternative approach can be offered.


Those official objectives of the project which reflect
on women in a special way should be taken first (and the
remainder discarded), although they might be appropriately
rephrased. Each objective should be examined both as its
benefits were realized by women and as it involved women's
participation. In this way both the gains and losses, and
the role of women in reaching those gains and losses, can be
examined. Additional objectives should be selected on
account of their inherent capacity to illuminate other gains
and losses.



In the official design ofl the project (the
identification, feasibility and appraisal reports) the
points to look for are

a. Are women singled out as a specific target
group? Are women-headed households given
specific mention?I

b. Do Ithe stated objectives allow for the
potential contribution of women to the
primary goals of the project?

c. Are the basic needs of the family for
which women have responsibility mentioned,
and how?

d. What are the stated benefits expected for
women in the areas of:

*land ownership
.acquisition of skills
'increased productivity
*opportunities for directly earning
cash income
.welfare amenities

e. What resources are earmarked to achieve
the stated benefits for women? (Training
facilities, extension services, land rights,
credit facilities, new income-earning employ-

f. Does the project envisage greater parti-
cipation by women in production and market-
ing, and in decision-making, both inside and
outside the household?

g. Is provision made for guaranteeing women's
own access to new institutions?

h. Is it possible to identify ideological
assumptions about the role of women in
stating these expected benefits?

i. Did women and men play any roles in
planning the project? Were they consulted?

j. What was the data base for the design of
the project? Was it disaggregated by sex?
Was qualitative information drawn on?

When examining implementation and impact the points to
look for are:


a. Have women gained or lost

access to land in their own right
*control over the returns to their own
.assistance from other household members
in their work schedules
*opportunities for earning cash income
.forms of economic exchange (labor, prod
-uce, credit) with their husbands?

b. What effect on women's and girl's work
load has resulted from:

*new cropping patterns and new land use
*new agricultural implements and mechani-
*changes in the division of household
*changes in exchange labor or hired
*withdrawal of other household members'
*new locations of supplies of water and
*new hygiene and nutrition practices
*.new household technology
.changes in support networks after

c. Are there any probable implications for
demographic behavior?

Training and Education

a. How many women, relative to men, have
received agricultural or other productive
training or extension advice directly?

b. How many women, relative to men, have gain-
ed from any adult education facilities?

c. What is the relative attendance of boys
and girls at different grades of education?

d. What are the special obstacles to women
and girls receiving training and education?

Health and Nutrition

a. How many women benefited from different
kinds of health facilities?

b. Are there any obstacles to women reaching
health Ifacilities?

c. What is the relation between sources of
safe water for domestic use, women's work
routine, and chAnges in the incidence of
waterborne diseases?

d. Which source| of food have expanded and
which have diminished (household subsistence
plots, shares of household commercial food
production, purchased food)?

e. What impact on the diet has resulted from
changes in the sources of food?

f. Are' there seasonal issues of health and
nutrition related to women's working condi-
g. AreI there any probable implications for
demographic behavior?

Dependence, Authority, and Legal Status

a. Are women more dependent on their husband's
cash income for household food and necessities?
Is there a new seasonal factor in the dispos-
able cash income available to women?

b. What roles do omen play in the economic

c. What roles do women play in the social
and political institutions?

d. Have there been changes in:

*women's age at marriage
.incidence of divorce
incidence of polygamy
.dowry or bridewealth practices
*inheritance practices
*size of household, widows'
access to land?

e. Has the project changed the aspirations of
the women?

When describing the implementation and the effects of
the project on women, the interplay of forces and variables
bringing about consequences should be explained.


Examining information on the progress of the project
and its effects on women could well prove to be skilled
detective work. Nevertheless, official documentation i
likely to offer some corroboration of field-investigation

Official sources of information for evaluation will be
progress reports of involved ministries, project management,
clinics, cooperatives, and other institutions. They may
consist of annual reports, ad hoc reports, or summaries of
work undertaken. There may also be evaluations performed by
ministries or international agencies.

Field investigation is likely to vary according to the
size and nature of the project, the length of time that can
be spent on the site, and access to project personnel.

A list of the topics that the investigator can be
expected to look out for is provided above. No hard and
fast rule can be set for the balance between quantitative
and qualitative information to be obtained, but the latter
is probably to be emphasized, since commenting on the
position of women and the effects of the project entails
investigating production relations between people, opinions
of the women and project personnel on conditions, and the
contradictions that remain latent. Quantitative data from
health clinics and cooperatives should also be obtained.
Even the shortest field visit should include interviewing a
stratified sample of the women on the site. If field work
is to take several months, a sample survey of women using a
questionnaire on some of the topics raised above should be
undertaken, as this would lend quantitative rigor to the
qualitative information. When sampling, consideration
should be given to stratification by location within the
site and to class of woman.



The study of the impact on women should commence with
the main characteristics of the projects, including:

1. How ,it came about (usually production
goals of government are the leading cause)

2. Stated objectives of the projects, and
suitable supplementary ones.

3. Whether the project is an integrated
economic and social package, and what is

4. Any restructuring of access to resources
(population resettlement, land reform, remain-
ing landless, new institutions established,
irrigation design, and any peculiar character-
istics lof the irrigation as it might affect
labor patterns).

5. An ethnological' sketch of the society as it
was, including the role of any off-site popula-
tion in the economy.

A great deal of this can be written up in a way that
makes the reader immediately aware of the implications for
women. There is no need to detail the expenditures given in
the project appraisal and other such items unless a useful
comparison can be made, such as one between total irrigation
costs and estimates of the costs of a safe water supply.
But estimates of future; increases in household income or in
employment creation can usefully be included.

Examination of the Data Base of the Project Plan

With many projects (especially those in the past) it
has to be expected that very little information on women's
pre-existing work, production and general welfare will have
been utilized, and in this event the lack of data should be
commented upon. i Project appraisals usually contain
aggregate data (particularly on diseases and literacy) and
these might not be broken down by sex, and might only be
national or regional averages. Nevertheless, if these are
the only data on the subject they should be mentioned.

Data on principal targets and predictions of outcomes
(food supply, employment, and so forth) of the project

should be mentioned as they are part of the objectives
against which evaluation must be made.

Apart from the official project documents, other
baseline data might be extruded from any known special
studies made on the area previously or on areas which are
similar to the project area as it was. Since data from
these sources will be scarce in most cases, and since the
project appraisal will probably mention only national data,
some liberty may be taken in quoting any off-site data if
this is suitable to fill out what would otherwise be a very
sketchy picture.

Baseline data which should be included in the
description of the main characteristics of the project might
be accompanied by a commentary on the adequacy of basic
information for formulating the objectives and the design of
the project.

Stages and Problems in the Project's Implementation

Every project passes through stages which are characterized
by changes in:

Availability of funds
*source of directing and coordinating authority
'role and influence of international agencies
Relative emphasis on economic and social components
*employment creation during the stage of construction
.ease of operation of new institutions
Seething problems and complaints

The combined operation of these factors can present
opportunities and problems specific to women. For instance,
the early years might be characterized by financial
largesse, emphasis on technical expertise, and control of
any revisions to the project by production authorities;
while the later years are characterized by financial
restriction, more control by project management staff, and
demands for more welfare amenities. Women's issues could
emerge with varying force and consideration within these two
periods. Comments on the stages of implementation could
describe the forces at play in allocating funds, the
opportunities gained or lost, and the points when
intervention might have been made.

Assessment of Project Impacts

Here commentary is presented not only on the gains and
losses experienced by women, but how those gains and losses
came about through the prevailing set of social relations.

If meaningful, any likely implications for household
demographic behavior should be drawn out. Wherever
pertinent it is useful to comment on the series of choices
made in the design and implementation which had a cumulative
impact on women, and the degree of likely difficulty in
reversing the impact.

Conclusion and Discussion of Aternative Approaches

Although the Conclusion should begin with a summary of
the findings on the impact on women, it ought to go much
further to answer questions such as the following:

a. Were the trade-offs between women's
interests and the primary goals of the
project due to technical or environmental
considerations, to ignorance emanating from
the poor data base, to ideological
assumptions about suitable roles for women,
to administrative convenience, or to
bureaucratic mistakes?

b. How could such an alternative design have
minimized or eliminated the trade-offs, and
created actual benefits serving women' s
interests and the primary goals of the

c. What alternative design for the project,
which was environmentally, economically,
and culturally feasible, might have had a
more favorable impact on women?

d. In what ways would this alternative design
make more positive the hidden factor of
women's role in the economic internal rate of

e. How are active options in fertility con-
trol provided by alternative designs?

f. Do some women always have to lose out "on

g. Do all women always have to lose some
particular things?

h. What can be done to the project at this
late stage to improve it?

In this way the questions "What should have been done
then?" and "How can women's position be improved now?" can
be answered.


The Project Documents, Reports, and Articles in this
Bibliography are prototypical, and not actual references, as
the NEMOW CASE is a hypothetical study drawn from a variety
of field experiences.


The Nemow Project: An Identification, Ministry of Planning,

The Nemow Project: A Feasibility Study, Ministry of Plann-
ing, 1963.

The Nemow Project: An Appraisal, Ministry of Planning, 1964.

Irrigation Construction Techniques and Labour Requirements:
The Nemow River Project, IBRD and Ministry of Works,

Rice Production in the Nemow Project: Input and Output Deliv-
ery Systems, Ministry of Agriculture, 1967.

Annual Progress Reports: 1965 to 1978, Nemow Project Manag-
er's Office.

Annual Reports: 1967 to 1978, Farmers' Associations, Nemow
River Project.

Annual Reports of the Nemow Fishing Authority: 1969 to 1978,
Ministry of Agriculture.

Summaries of Annual Reports of the Residents' Association,
Nemow River Project (in Annual Progress Reports, 1969
to 1978, Nemow Project Manager's Office).


Brown, A.D., "Traditional Medicine Practices in the Nemow
Valley," Journal of Tropical Nutrition, July, 1953.

Clark, J., "Sources of Seasonal Labour in the Nemow Valley "
Journal of Labour Statistics, October, 1969.

Ennismore, W., "The Sexual Division of Labour in Agricul-
ture in the District of the Nemow River Review of
Development Issues, June 1955.


Women's Roles and Gender Differences in Development: Cases for Planners
Prepared by the Population Council.

The Nemow Case, by Ingrid Palmer
February 1985 $6.75 ISBN: 0-931816-16-5

Sex Roles in the Nigerian Tiv Farm Household, by Mary E. Burfisher and Nadine R.
February 1985 $6.75 ISBN: 0-931816-17-3

Agricultural Policy Implementation: A Case Study from Western Kenya, by Kathleen
February 1985 $6.75 ISBN: 0-931816-18-1

Kano River Irrigation Project, by Cecilia Jackson
Pub. date July 1985 $6.75

The Ilora Farm Settlement in Nigeria, by Heather Spiro
Pub. date July 1985 $6.75

The Impact of Agrarian Reform on Women, by Ingrid Palmer
Pub. date July 1985 $6.75

The Impact of Male Out-Migration on Women in Farming, by Ingrid Palmer
Pub. date July 1985 $6.75

Kumarian Press offers a discount on purchases of full sets of these volumes. For more
information, to ask for our catalog or to place an order, write or call

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