Front Cover
 WCARRD: How it dealt with rural...
 Women: The neglected half of rural...
 Rural development: Boon or setback...
 Equality of legal status
 Women's access to rural servic...
 Educating and training rural women...
 Enhancing income-earning oppor...
 Women's organization and parti...

Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00087142/00001
 Material Information
Title: WCARRD a turning point for rural women
Alternate Title: World conference on agrarian reform and rural development
Physical Description: 16 p. : col. ill. ; 21 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Publisher: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Place of Publication: Rome
Publication Date: 1980
Subject: Rural women -- Economic conditions -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
General Note: Cover title.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00087142
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 53309221

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    WCARRD: How it dealt with rural women
        Page 1
    Women: The neglected half of rural society
        Page 2
    Rural development: Boon or setback for rural women?
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Equality of legal status
        Page 5
    Women's access to rural services
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Educating and training rural women and girls
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
    Enhancing income-earning opportunities
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Women's organization and participation
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
Full Text





Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Rome, Italy
First printing May 1980

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An historic conference took
place in Rome, 12-20 July 1979
- the World Conference on
Agrarian Reform and Rural De-
velopment (WCARRD). It was
the first world conference con-
cerned with the problems of
rural poverty. And it was the first
at which delegates debated in
some depth the special situation
and needs of rural women.

WCARRD, which was sponsor-
ed by the Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO), was at-
tended by delegates from 145
countries, as well as by repre-
sentatives of other United Na-
tions agencies and 87 peasant
organizations, cooperatives and
other non-governmental organi-
zations (NGOs).

The final Programme of Action
adopted by WCARRD is com-
prehensive; it discusses princi-
ples, objectives and strategies for
ensuring equity for rural peo-
ples, the alleviation of their pov-
erty and for achieving their right
to participate in decision-mak-
ing affecting their lives.

An integral part of the adopted
Programme of Action is a section
entitled "Integration of Women
in Rural Development." Many
delegates and NGOs made the
point that all substantive sec-
tions of the Programme of Ac-
tion applied to women as well
as to men. There was general
agreement, however, that at this
point in time it was imperative to
have a special focus on women
because women have for so long
been marginalized in rural life
and because custom, institutions
and attitudes including the
attitudes of women themselves
- have built in a long-standing,
deep-seated discrimination.

This booklet serves to reinforce
WCARRD's signalling of how
rural women might be brought
into the mainstream of develop-
ment. It offers insights and
guidelines which should be of
help to all who are designing
programmes for rural areas.


Among the rural poor, why were
women singled out for separate
attention at WCARRD? One
answer is that there is growing
awareness of the anomaly of
women's position in rural socie-
ty: her contribution is enormous
and absolutely critical to im-
provement in rural living con-
ditions, and yet she usually has
been overlooked and even fur-
ther disadvantaged as develop-
ment proceeds in the country-
side. Recognition of the need to
start counting in rural women
could mark a turning point.

Who Is the Rural Woman?
The rural woman has many
faces; widely differing cultures,


environmental rigours and sur-
vival necessities define her world
and work.
She is the straight-backed mark-
et woman, striding along the
roadside, her baby swaddled on
her back and a basket of peppers
balanced on her head, going to
town to sell the produce she has
She is the heavily clothed desert
woman, sitting all day in the
dark interior of her mud home
before a floor loom, weaving
brilliantly hued woollen carpets
which her husband will turn over
to a middleman for sale in the
city while culture dictates that
she never leave the seclusion of
her village walls or receive pay-
ment for her labours.
She is working ankle-deep in
water under a hot sun, stooping
as she transplants rice seedlings
- or she is scraping her hoe
among the maize plants, uproot-
ing weeds.
She is grinding grain into flour,
carrying water and wood fuel,

"Tell the big men, if you see
them, we need help. We've work-
ed hard to raise our own funds:
brewing, cooking, sewing but
it's not enough for what we need
to do. Tell those men it's time
they give us some help for a
change." Leader of an African
village women's group.'
pounding clothes at the village
stream, caring for her family as
best she can.
Although their circumstances
may differ widely, characteristic
of all rural women are their
incessant labours which must be
reckoned as one of the great
productive resources of their

Hence, there is irony in the fact
that in matters deeply affecting
her welfare and the responsibili-
ties she carries, the rural woman
is not only neglected in the pro-
vision of essential services to
assist her but she is also not pre-
pared for and almost completely
excluded from the mainstream
of decision-making and partici-
pation in rural development.


The goal of agrarian reform and
rural development is transfor-
mation of rural life and activities
in all their economic, social, cul-
tural, institutional, environmen-
tal and human aspects. National
objectives to achieve this trans-
formation should focus on erad-

Rural development is an all-en-
compassing concept but its tar-
gets are directed toward the goal
of improving the quality oflifefor
rural people. Through balanced
development, people men,
women and children are to
benefit from progress in rural
areas which results in reduction
of poverty and severe under-nu-
trition; increased productivity;
the expansion of at least min-
imum levels of public utilities
and services such as safe drink-
ing water, family planning, pri-
mary health care, housing, edu-
cation and roads; and decen-
tralized decision-making which
strengthens the participation of
rural people.

To achieve equitable develop-
ment, the activities and needs of
women should be an organic
part of all rural development
programmes. Almost every
change made in rural society af-
fects women for better or

* Technology such as mecha-
nized ploughing which extends

T C' -.V -r , -
p, .i;y I i"f 'w W". -

the area under production is la-
bour saving for men but creates
more work for women in their
traditional tasks of hoeing,
weeding, transplanting and har-

* The introduction of certain
cash crops means more field la-
bour for women, little control of
the income produced and less

time to spend nurturing their

"A consequence of this neglect of
women's interests is this startling
reality: while the global com-
munity cries out against the
possible starvation of millions
unless food production and dis-
tribution are improved, African
food producers the women -
continue largely to be ignored."2

~"~'""` "~~iSB~a~~~,~!~
.L C

ication of poverty, including
nutritional improvement, and be
governed by policies for attain-
ing growth with equity, redistri-
bution of economic and political
power, and people's participa-
tion... women should participate
and contribute on an equal basis

with men in the social, economic
and political processes of rural
development and share fully in
improved conditions in rural
areas. Abstract from
WCARRD Report, Declaration
of Principles.

families or working at their own
income-producing activities.
* Male migration leaves
women with even greater family
and farm responsibilities but
often without recognized rights
to decision-making over land
and its cultivation or the training
to do the job effectively.
* When primary health ser-
vices, inoculation and better nu-
trition reduce infant mortality,
this is always a blessing. But
when, because of social pressure,
ignorance or unavailability of
family planning services, the
pregnancies of women are not
voluntarily adjusted to the more
favourable survival rates of
children, then women's health
suffers. They must work harder
than ever to feed their larger
families and there is additional
strain on community resources
such as schools.
e If women have no voice in
decisions about community de-
velopment policies that affect
them and their families, they will
only dimly esteem their potential
contribution and may, quite un-

derstandably, resent and ob-
struct development.

All of these and other conse-
quences of distortions in rural
development, of overlooking
women, are real impediments to
improving the quality of rural
life. Development must be bal-
anced; what affects one segment
of village society affects all.

The WCARRD Programme of
Action recommends, step by
step, very positive ways for fully
integrating women into the rural
development process. Some
steps are small and can be easily
achieved; others will require
giant leaps in perception and
commitment to change by both
men and women.

At the top of the following pages
appear recommendations from
the WCARRD report under the
heading "Integration of Women
in Rural Development." In the
commentary are included other
pertinent ideas from the total
WCARRD Report as they apply
to rural women.

r ,



Repeal those laws which discrim-
inate against women in respect
of rights of inheritance, owner-
ship and control of property, and
promote understanding of the
need for such measures.
Repeal laws and regulations
which inhibit effective partici-

Many countries have model
constitutions guaranteeing
women equal rights. However,
there often exist customary, reli-
gious and civil laws as well as
cultural restraints which restrict
women's rights in inheritance,
access to land and to other forms
of income-producing property.
Hence, legislative reform and its
implementation are essential to
the full integration of women in
rural development and the
beginning of a long process of
social change.

Control of Land
In rural societies land is the
all-important primary resource;
its ownership or control is the
magic key which opens up access
to credit, rights to water and
other natural resources, and
even participation privileges in
people's organizations.

A first consideration is that
women who are solely respon-
sible for the cultivation of land
should have the legal right to
administer it to take decisions

on what to plant and inputs
needed for increased produc-

To achieve this, in land reform
and resettlement schemes in
which land is apportioned to
farmers, legislation should be
enacted which would:

1. Grant land to widows, aban-
doned wives and single women
farmers on the same basis as to

2. Instead of using the "head of
family" concept prevalent in
land reform legislation, amend it
to grant land to the joint owner-
ship of husband and wife, giving
women producers with absentee
husbands effective legal right to
take decisions on the land they
manage and to share in the prof-

Governments should also study
and consider rectifying other
inequities perpetuated by inher-
itance laws, marriage customs
and practices such as bride price
and dowry.

Access to Credit
Land is the most important form
of collateral for agricultural cred-
This fact reinforces the necessity
for women to have land owner-
ship rights in order to secure
working capital at reasonable
rates of interest. Other rules and
regulations governing credit to
women should be relaxed in
order to encourage the economic
activities of rural women.

Equality in Rural Organiza-
Membership in, and voting
rights in, people's organizations
such as tenants' associations,
unions, cooperatives and credit
unions is often limited to "heads
of families", thereby eliminating
the participation of the majority
of rural women. Regulations and
by-laws of such organizations
should be amended to allow the
full participation and contribu-
tion of women who toil alone in
their fields or side by side with
their husbands.

pation by women in economic
Ensure full membership and
equal voting rights for women in
people's organizations such as
tenants' associations, labour
unions, cooperatives, credit


Adopt measures to ensure
women equitable access to land,
livestock and other productive

The underrating of women's
contribution to the rural econo-
my and the dominance of
modern agricultural strategies
for increased "productivity"
have resulted in only limited
improvement or in an actual de-
terioration in women's access to
water, credit, appropriate tech-
nology and other productive re-
sources as well as infrastructure
which strengthens women's pro-
ductive capabilities.

Women account for 60 to 80
percent of the agricultural la-
bour force in African and Asian
countries and more than 40 per-
cent in Latin America. Rural
women supply not only essential
work power for cash crops but
are almost solely responsible for
subsistence crop activities,
poultry and small animal care.

The other food responsibilities
borne by women include those
of guarding against post-harvest
losses, food preparation and
preservation and planning the
family's nutrition. And, in some
areas, it is the marketing services

that rural women provide which
assure a steady supply of fresh
produce to urban dwellers.

Clearly, failing to apportion
rural services equitably between
men and women as is true in
most countries represents a
serious distortion of rural reality.

Productive Resources

Women farmers, as much as
male farmers, require access to
improved seeds, fertilizers, pe-
sticides and draught animals.
Along with training in the use of
these resources, however, credit
t *1=

to purchase them is usually es-
sential for the poor farmer.
Institutional credit schemes that
facilitate credit at low rates of
interest for the enterprises of
women should be developed.

Easily accessible supplies of
water and fuel the portage of
which is traditionally women's
and children's work are a
priority. There should be ready
support for the digging and
maintaining of wells, the planta-
tion and conservation of a re-
newable timber farm close to the
village and for assisting people
to plant trees on homesteads. (If
men were the haulers of water
and the gatherers of fuel, how
much sooner might solutions
have been found to the burden-
some supply problems?)

Appropriate Technology

Simple technological innovation
that reduces women's drudgery
-in food processing or field work
s without reducing their employ-
14 meant opportunities is already

Provide agricultural inputs and
social and economic services to
women through non-discrimina-
tory access to existing delivery

Evaluate and take steps to mini-
mize the possible negative ef-
fects on women's employment
and income arising from changes
in traditional economic patterns
and introduction of new tech-

... establish and strengthen
programmes to facilitate and
ease the burden of women's
household work, such as day
care centres, in order to permit
their greater participation in
economic, educational and polit-
ical activities.

proving a boon to some rural
women. Rice husking and maize
shelling devices, hand-operated
mills for grinding maize into
flour, and water pumps are all
examples of technology that is
both practical and time-saving
for women.

To promote the development of
simple technologies, resources
should be directed to village
technology centres and to train-
ing women in the installation
and maintenance of simple

Services such as credit, improved
roads, transport and storage fa-
cilities all strengthen rural
women's role in marketing agri-
cultural and craft products.
The establishment of coopera-
tive shops in rural areas -
managed by local women's orga-
nizations would improve the
community's access to consumer
goods and be an outlet for the
sale of locally produced pro-

SResources Made an Important

I The sale of rosquillas, hard bis-
cuits made from maize and
cheese, is the main source of
income for the village of Esqui-
S may, Honduras. However, the
women's club which organized
H_ this income-producing activity
could not increase its small pro-
duction of rosquillas because the
Rural Family Resource Cen- time consumed in the grinding of
tres maize interfered with household
duties. Then, resources in this
A range of services to rural fam- case, a loan of money from the
ilies can be provided through Community Development Foun-
rural family resource centres: dation- unblocked the deterrent.
legal and financial advice, fami- With the loan, the women's club
ly planning advice and referral, made a down payment on a mo-
demonstration of appropriate tor-driven mill for grinding
technologies for the better man- maize. A small charge is made
agement and utilization of pro- for the use of the mill and this in-
ductive resources. come is used to repay the loan.
The resulting increased rosquil-
An adjunct to such centres could las production is providing
be child care facilities, run by much-needed capital for improv-
trained village women, which ing agricultural production in the
would give small children proper area and for establishing a small
care and feeding while their cooperative store in the village.3
mothers are engaged in field and
income-producing activities.


Establish special recruitment
and training schemes to increase
the number of women in training
and extension programmes of
development agencies at all lev-
els, including professional fields
from which women have been
traditionally excluded.

"I would like my children to get
enough education. Women, you
know, have more talents for
doing things than men. It's only
that men's talents are better rec-
ognized because they only con-
centrate on a few things.
Women have got so many things
to do that nobody ever looks at
how many things they do. If I had
a chance to learn something, I
would like to learn how to help
people. I would like to be a
nurse." Illiterate Kenyan pea-
sant woman.'

Unequal educational opportuni-
ties are a formidable barrier to
women's full participation in
rural development.

Although all governments, in
theory, provide non-discrimina-
tory education, in practice it is
usually the daughters of rural
families who are early school
drop-outs because of family pov-
erty or need for her labour.

And rural training and extension
programmes, often based on
inappropriate models of exten-

sion, have a heavy preponder-
ance of male trainers serving
only male farmers and slighting
the training needs of the vast
body of female workers.

The effects of cultural and eco-
nomic bias against the education
and training of girls and women
now require extra measures in
order to compensate for past
neglect and to enhance the pro-
ductive capacities of half the
rural population.

Formal Education
Educational reform may be re-
quired in order to offer rural
boys and girls curricula of equal
quality and practically related to
their future roles in the com-

Girls, as well as boys, need
training in agriculture, animal
care and concepts of community
and rural development. And
boys as well as girls, if they are to

Leaders of a women's cooperative in India
gather to work on financial records.

be responsible partners in mar-
riage, should study child care,
nutrition, consumer education
and home management. For
both sexes, family life and pop-
ulation education are essential
and should begin at the primary
. ~. .mi

Broaden the range of agricultur-
al training and extension pro-
grammes to support women's
roles in activities of agricultural
production, processing, preser-
vation and marketing.

Ensure educational opportuni-
ties of similar quality and con-
tent for both sexes and provide
special incentives such as reduc-
ed fees for increased enrolment
of girls and women in schools
and training programmes.

WCARRD suggested that there
be reduced fees for girls and
women to encourage their con-
tinued education and training.
To illustrate the interaction of all
elements in rural development,
it should be noted that improved
water and fuel supplies and

-- 1i

community child care facilities
reduce the risk that household
chores would interfere with girls'
education. And an increased
number of educated young vil-
lage women helps ensure staff
for educational, health and ex-
tension services in rural commu-

Rural Extension Workers
Extension services and com-
munity training facilities should
fairly reflect the reality of rural
life, i.e. if 60 percent of food
production, processing, storage
and marketing is done by
women, then a major proportion
of agricultural extension funds,
resources and personnel should
be allotted to assisting rural
women. If there is a programme
bias against women as communi-
ty leaders, farm managers and as
recipients and agents of techno-
logical change, it should be rec-
ognized and rectified.

WCARRD recommended that
there be an intensified effort to
recruit and train women for all

levels of extension work and that
their training should be broad
and mirror the real, multifaceted
needs of their rural clients and
include professional fields from
which women have traditionally
been excluded.

Mixed Vegetable Scheme

Women in several villages in The
Gambia had often asked exten-
sion agents for a chance to be-
come involved in cash crop pro-
duction, an area traditionally
dominated by men. In response,
the Ministry of Agriculture set up
a project to train 30 women in the
production of onion crops for ex-
port each woman being re-
sponsible for 10 onion beds. The
Ministry and The Gambia Coop-
erative Union provide fertilizer
and seed and purchase the onion
crop at an agreed price. Within
two years, the project grew to
involve over 900 women in 32
different projects -providing the
women with income and with the
opportunity to join cooperati-

) .5k~

Establish and strengthen
non-formal educational oppor-
tunities for rural women,
including leadership training,
instruction in agricultural as well
as non-farm activities, health
care, upbringing of children,
family planning and nutrition.

Promote understanding of men's
responsibilities to share house-
hold duties.

Those who work with rural peo-
ple should be prepared also to
help both men and women as-
sume more equal responsibility
for the home and family by offer-
ing training to both sexes in
knowledge and skills important
for rearing healthy children, for
undertaking home improvement
and improved sanitation and
for management of household

Non-Formal Education
and Training
There are still too few develop-
ing countries that have pro-
grammes reaching the rural level
which seek to facilitate women's
full integration into community
development. While training
that focuses on the nurturing and
home-making roles of women is
essential and should not be ne-
glected, extension personnel
should also assist women in:

* Methods of better crop pro-
duction and in wider variety, and
in understanding how home-
grown produce can be utilized

to improve

family health and

* Simple technologies for the
processing of food grains, the
prevention of post-harvest food
losses and the improvement of
domestic water supply.

* Family life education and
understanding the implications
of family size and spacing for the
health of mother and child.

* In woodland communities,
training in the plantation and
care of forests, processing and
marketing of forest products.

* Small-scale fishing, fish
farming and livestock produc-
* Record keeping and book-
keeping in order to acquire cred-
it and for profitable marketing
and other income-producing
* Organization into small
groups or pre-cooperatives for
joint community enterprises
such as ownership of a powered
grain mill or draught animals.
* Functional literacy which
often can be integrated into
other training.
Blossoming from education and
training, from an increased offi-
cial attention to her needs, will
be a growth in the rural woman's
self-esteem, in her vision of all
the things she can do to promote

"I would educate women more
than men. Women bear and raise
the children -so women prepare
the future. How can the future be
good if women are ignorant?" -
Semi-literate Zapotec Indian
woman in rural Mexico.'


Budi Rahayu Women's

Under Indonesia's Cooperative
Law No. 12, women batik tulis
(hand-drawn batik) workers of
Semanggi village organized
themselves into a formal coop-
erative in 1967. Though loans
from the Rural Bank of Indonesia
as well as initial contributions
and compulsory savings of mem-
bers, the cooperative accumu-
lates capital which makes poss-
ible loans to members -many of
whom are poor for the pur-
chase of raw materials.

Members of the cooperative's
Board of Directors, some of
whom have only primary school
education, attend government
training courses on organization
and management, leadership and
entrepreneurship. So efficient is
the cooperative's administration
and its monthly reporting to the
Cooperative Service that in 1977
the Government also entrusted it
with the management of a sav-
ings and loan facility for small
traders of the district. 5

As rural societies become more
dependent upon a cash econo-
my, rural women see their ability
to earn income as essential in
order to improve the health and
economic situation of their fam-
ilies and to send their children to

Planners need to consciously
consider enhancing women's
income-producing opportuni-

ties; training women to utilize
their skills in producing food or
goods for the market economy
taps resources that otherwise
would be dormant and raises the
levels of living of the rural poor.
Infrastructures for production,
credit, cooperatives, transport
and marketing must be develop-
ed with the needs of the working
women in mind.

For instance, handicraft and
small-scale industries using lo-
cally available materials are tra-
ditional income-earners for the
rural woman, but it is not
enough to give her training in
sewing, tie and dye and
macram6 if she cannot secure
reasonable credit to purchase
her supplies or find a market for
her goods. The products of hor-
ticulture, poultry-raising and
beekeeping supplement inade-
quate diets and are sources of
income, but their transportation,
storage and handling in urban
markets are more than some
women can manage and they
must rely on middlemen who
drain off their profits.

Promote income-generating op-
portunities for women and guar-
antee equal wage rates for men
and women for work of equal

Women are finding solutions to
these deterrents to income-pro-
duction by organizing them-
selves into cooperative groups
which offer revolving credit
funds and arrange for the mer-
chandising of their products.
Women managers, trained in
small-scale business manage-
ment, accounting and record-
keeping skills, can help ensure
the success of such enterprises.

Governments may wish to con-
sider other ways of promoting
wage employment for rural
women, such as:

e Employing women in forest-
ry, and forest-based crafts and
industries, seedling nurseries,
wood-working, basketry.

* Training women for work in
fisheries, including fish process-
ing and preservation, net mak-
ing, aquaculture and fish mar-

* Promoting small-scale ag-
ro-based industry which offers
opportunities for skilled, remu-

negative and year-round em-
ployment in activities such as
food processing and preserva-
tion; directing these opportuni-
ties to impoverished rural

In furthering such employment
for women, it is noted that wage
scales for jobs done by women in
the field or in local industry are
usually very low, and women
workers are rarely organized to
defend their rights. WCARRD
endorsed the concept of equal
pay for equal work by women
and men.

Protecting Their Rights

A group of 10-15 married and
single women of Mokulamada,
Sri Lanka, organized themselves
into the Women's Transplanting
Organization in 1950. Every year
since, this voluntary organiza-
tion has banded women of the
village which has excess female

labour into a work force that
travels into paddy-growing areas
to transplant rice. The women
spend 2 /2 to 3 months annually
in this activity, moving from farm
to farm, offering an important
seasonal service to landowners.

In return for assuring landowners
steady, reliable help during a
peak labour period, the Women's
Transplanting Organization has
unwritten but strict rules gov-
erning the working conditions
the landowners must provide: an
agreed daily wage, free meals
including rice and four curries
with meat and fish, a separate
room for the group to lodge in,
free transport, medical facilities,
security and recreational facili-
ties such as a radio and car-

By organizing themselves and by
having an appreciation of their
worth to landowners, the women
of Mokulamada are able to work
with security in areas distant
from their home, to command
reasonable working conditions
and to earn important income.5



Promote collective action and
organization by rural women to
facilitate their participation in
the full range of rural services
and to enhance their opportuni-
ties to participate in economic,
political and social activities on
an equal footing with men.

Among the rural poor, women
were signalled out by WCARRD
as a major group whose partici-
pation and organization should
be encouraged so as to increase
their visibility, their power and
their potential as change-agents.

At the other end of the spectrum,
it was also recognized that rural
women's interests were better
understood and advocated if
there were women in poli-
cy-making positions and all
other levels in government min-
istries which work in rural de-
evelopment as well as in rural
development banks and lar-
ge-scale national projects, such
as irrigation.

Participation from the
Grass Roots
The full integration of women
with an equal voice into institu-
tions which govern their lives is
the goal. Most rural women are
unprepared for such a participa-
tory role; theirs has traditionally
been one of subservience,

self-effacement and service.
Consequently, through educa-
tion, training and inclusion,
women must be given a new vi-
sion of their ability to contribute
to community organizations.
This is not a simple recommen-
dation. A beginning, however,
which any government can im-
plement. Is to include rural
women leaders with their valu-
able, experience-tested wisdom
in all levels of planning,
monitoring and evaluation of
rural development programmes.

Organization of Women

Rural women can be particularly
effective, through mutual reli-
ance, when they organize into
groups for income-generating
and family and community im-
provement activities. There have
been some remarkable instances
of energetic women's groups
which have transformed back-
ward villages into models of
rural development.
Governments and private agen-
cies should strengthen such or-
ganized activity of rural women.
Through extension support,
women can improve their lead-
ership, organizational and fi-
nancial skills. Technical advice,
credit arrangements and seed
money will bolster women's or-
Female agricultural or rural
industry workers should be en-
couraged to organize into work-
ers' groups so as to increase
their control over wages and
working conditions. And author-
ities should be alert in protecting
such female initiatives from ha-

Establish systems, with the
involvement of women's organi-
zations, to identify and evaluate
obstacles to women's participa-
tion and to monitor progress and
coordinate action, especially

with regard to agricultural ser-
vices, educational services and
school enrollment, health and
other social services, and em-
ployment and wages.

Tenacious Woman

Mother of seven children and
manager of a 3-ha farm, Mrs. Jo
Bong Hyun of Hakdong, Kang-
won province, Republic of Korea,
is nicknamed "tenacious wo-
man" because of her extraordi-
nary success in mobilizing the
women of the village into a coo-
perative effort to improve what
was a stagnant, backward village
characterized by poverty, malnu-
trition and lack of sanitation.

With the assistance of an exten-
sion agent, she persuaded some of
the village women to organize a
Hakdong Home Improvement
Club in 1964.

Raising their initial capital by
hiring out as day labourers in the
rice fields, they started a cooper-
ative village store and a child
care centre. When the Govern-
ment's New Community Move-
ment spread into the countryside
in 1970, the Club worked to en-
sure its acceptance by the village

The women's improvement proj-
ects proliferated as success bred
confidence, the village men gave
them support and their collective
profits built up. In the past 5
years they have launched a cattle
project, a plant nursery, a village
community hall and a potato-
cake snack shop. The women
studied ways on increasing the
nutritive value of their family
meals, designed more simplified
women's work clothing to wear in
the fields and achieved kitchen
improvements in all their home,
including piped water.

When, after being briefed by a live-
stock specialist, the women first
went to purchase cattle at the
market, they were "embarrassed
by having to face tough and sly
middlemen, to say nothing of be-
wildered oxen that looked ready
to charge us. But we stood firm,
telling ourselves that there was
nothing women are unable to
do," reports Mrs. Jo Bong Hyun.

In 1977 Hakdong was selected as
the most outstanding village of
the province and received a loan of

500 000 won which was imme-
diately invested in a community
cooperative cattle and swine
raising project. 5


Extension programmes should
be concerned with broadening
the leadership base among vil-
lage women by giving participa-
tory training to the community's
own selected leaders so that they.
through women's clubs or
through the strong informal
communication network of vil-
lage women, can disseminate
important information and
inspire their colleagues to col-
lective action.

When, through working together
and under their own leaders,
rural women can witness the pos-
itive changes they have brought
about, they enjoy a new percep-
tion of their capacity to affect
change and become true part-
ners in rural development.


All rural development projects,
designed and funded from what-
ever source, have an impact,
intended or not, on rural women.

Thus, international agencies,
bilateral aid donors and NGOs
should continuously monitor
their programmes of technical
and resource assistance to rural
areas to ensure that, rather than
reinforcing the marginality of
women, they are coherently de-
signed to strengthen the poten-
tial of women to contribute to
the basic needs and economic
advancement of their communi-

The WCARRD Programme of
Action suggests measures by
which FAO, as the lead agency
in rural development, and other
international agencies can sup-
port national governments in
their rural development efforts.
WCARRD identified women as
a specific group within the rural
poor whose needs require con-
certed and directed attention if
the inequality gap is to be nar-

Monitoring and Evaluation

One reason rural women's con-
tribution to the national econo-
my is usually seriously underval-
ued or completely overlooked is
because available statistics ig-
nore their unpaid family labours
and self-employment. On the
invitation of national govern-
ments, FAO and other agencies
can assist in developing improv-
ed statistics, suitable social and
economic indicators for measur-
ing women's economic contri-
bution and evaluating her inte-
gration into rural development.

Analysis and Dissemination
of Knowledge

International agencies, with the
concurrence of governments,
can promote research which
analyses the impact on rural
women of land reform, technol-
ogy, production structures and
other aspects of rural develop-
ment. Women should be trained
to undertake and participate in
this research.

The dissemination of the results
of such research, as well as an
assessment of national experi-
ences in promoting integration
of women in rural development,
can be undertaken by FAO and
other agencies.

Technical Assistance

With proper staffing there is
wide scope for FAO and other
agencies to give technical assis-
tance to governments who re-
quest collaboration in formulat-
ing programmes for integrating
women in all areas of rural de-
velopment. Among possible
areas for assistance, agencies are
prepared to help in projects
which open up non-traditional
fields to women such as forestry,
fishing and rural industries; in
improved extension training for
women in agricultural produc-
tion techniques and prevention
of post-harvest losses; in provi-
sion of training for both men and
women in household resource
management, consumer and fam-
ily life education, health and san-

Revise procedures for the collec-
tion and presentation of statis-
tical data for the identification,
recognition and appreciation of
the participation of women in
productive activities.

Promote research and exchange
of information...

itation, nutrition and popula-
tion education; in the devel-
opment of institutional credit
facilities for rural women and
support for marketing ventures.

Counting in Rural
Women in Rwanda

The Government of Rwanda is
concerned about the full integra-
tion and training of its rural
women who are responsible for
95 percent of the country's agri-
cultural production. Conse-
quently, under FAO/ECA lead-
ership and with the collabora-
tion of UNDP and UNICEF, the
Government has initiated a com-
prehensive programme to ensure
the full inclusion of women in its
rural development.

Still in its first stages, the pro-
gramme calls for developing a
cadre of trainers in education,
health, housing, cooperatives,

Such technical assistance can be
channelled through regional and
global development institutions
and through non-governmental

agronomy, nutrition and local
government. Operating from
communes Rwanda's rural
area has no villages but rather
individual homesteads those
trained will then train selected
rural leaders, men and women,
each representing 12 families.

Unique to the Rwanda develop-
ment scheme is that everyone -
men and women together will
participate in identical grass-
roots training ranging from nutri-
tion education to cooperatives.
Urgently needing to increase
its agricultural production to
feed the densely populated coun-
tryside, the Government is not
only seeking to upgrade the skills
of women producers but also to
integrate men into agriculture!

FAO and other agencies often
sponsor regional seminars and
training programmes. Govern-
ments should be encouraged to
nominate to these programmes
women participants in propor-
tion to female participation in
the area being discussed.

Mobilizing Resources

Multilateral and bilateral exter-
nal funding agencies, concerned
with mandates of the United
Nations Decade for Women as
well as with WCARRD recom-
mendations, should have strong
interest in providing additional
funding earmarked for advanc-
ing the integration of women in
rural development. It is an
investment directly linked with
alleviating the most grievous as-
pects of underdevelopment -
hunger and malnutrition, unem-
ployment, child mortality and
morbidity, high rates of popula-
tion growth and with promot-
ing equity for all people.


The United Nations Decade
for Women (1975-1985) is
raising global consciousness
about the extent to which
women's condition is unac-
ceptable, often inequitable rel-
ative to the position of men
and damaging to the process
of development.

WCARRD has focused the
spotlight on rural women
whose depressed situation is
further jeopardized, unless
remedial action is taken, by
land reform and rural develop-

WCARRD deliberations and
recommendations strongly
suggest that:

* The curtain be drawn back
and there be recognition of
and statistical counting of the
enormous productive contri-
bution of rural women.

* Policy-oriented research be
undertaken to determine the
impact of rural developmental
processes and technology on
rural women's work, income,
health and living conditions.

e All planning, strategies and
programmes for rural develop-
ment fully integrate condi-
tions for meeting the needs of
rural women as well as of rural
men. This means the equitable
access of women to land, pro-
ductive resources, education
and training, and employment

* Finally, through encour-
agement to develop their com-
petencies and within a climate
of acceptance, rural women
should participate at all levels
in the policy-making institu-
tions which affect their lives.

Women are such key contrib-
utors to country life that
constraints on progress in
rural development will not be
removed until rural women are
accepted as equal partners. It
is just that simple, and con-
sidering traditional fetters and
past neglects that difficult.

WCARRD set important
guidelines for the full integra-
tion of rural women. The next
actions depend on the com-
mitment to equitable rural re-
form of national governments
and on the international agen-
cies which support their ef-



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