Title Page

Title: Report of the expert consultation on experiences of institutional changes concerning women in development, Rome, Italy, 21-23 September, 1988
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00089370/00001
 Material Information
Title: Report of the expert consultation on experiences of institutional changes concerning women in development, Rome, Italy, 21-23 September, 1988
Series Title: Report of the expert consultation on experiences of institutional changes concerning women in development, Rome, Italy, 21-23 September, 1988.
Alternate Title: Experiences of institutional changes concerning women in development
Physical Description: 46 p. : ; 29 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: 1988
Subject: Women in development -- Congresses   ( lcsh )
Genre: conference publication   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00089370
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 36815717

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Title Page
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
Full Text


Rome, Italy,
21-23 September, 1988

Rome, 1988

- 35 -



Ms. Anita Spring
Women in Agricultural Production and Rural Development Service


FAO Mandates and Policy on
Women in Agricultural and Rural Development


It is my pleasure to welcome you to this Expert Consultation on
Experiences of Institutional Changes Concerning Women in Development. I do
this on my fourth day on the job as Service Chief here at FAO. In 1983, I
was one of the experts at FAO's consultation on Women in Food Production,
and in the intervening years I have been working in many ways as professor,
dean, consultant and project director on the issues of women in agricul-
tural development. Today, I rely heavily in my remarks on the kind
assistance of other members of the Women in Agricultural Production and
Rural Development Service and of the Division of Human Resources,
Institutions and Agrarian Reform. I will be discussing FAO's history,
organization, policies and plans concerning women, all of which I have only
recently learned myself; hopefully they are accurate. I assure you that
the best way to learn something is to have to instruct others on the topic.
However, my colleagues are here to answer questions and to help me out if
need be.

I will be briefing you on the institutional changes of this
organization, vis-A-vis women's issues, just as you will be discussing
changes based on your knowledge of the regions you represent. Hopefully, we
will be able to pull out from your experiences the major issues that are
critical to the topic.

I. Evolution of FAO's approach to the Integration of Rural Women in

FAO was founded in 1945 and in 1949 a "Home Economics Branch" was
established within the Nutrition Division to address women's issues.
Between 1949 and 1972, the approach basically focused on home economics
dealing with domestic tasks and reproductive problems that women faced.

Assistance to governments consisted mainly in establishing home
economics services and training facilities. Programmes were oriented to
subjects such as nutrition education, child care, health and sanitation,
improvement of housing, crafts and the development of kitchen gardens and
small animal husbandry, so as to provide supplementary food for children
and household members. Training centres were established at the request of
Ministries of Education or sometimes Ministries of Social Affairs when
community development workers were to be trl-~1a .

- 36 -

A broader approach to reach rural women was stimulated by the
Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women adopted in
1967 by the General Assembly of the United Nations. Hence, when the Home
Economics Service was transferred to the Human Resources Division in 1972,
it was already within its scope to widen the activities and to consider the
role of women not only in their domestic and family responsibilities, but
also as food producers, recognizing that without up-grading their economic
resources, women would not be able to improve the well-being of their
families. A special effort has since been made to conceive of projects and
programmes that could be integrated with the activities promoted by the

It was not until late in the 1970's, with the World Conference on
Agrarian Reform and Rural Development or WCARRD in 1979, that -the
conceptual approach changed to focus on agricultural production and rural
development. As a consequence, in 1983, the title of the Service, the focal
point for women in FAO, was modified to the "Women in Agricultural
Production and Rural Development Service".

FAO was not unique in changing the focus from home economics to
agricultural production. In many countries, the units that dealt with women
went through similar changes. Extension services to reach rural women were
progressively integrated within the Ministries of Agriculture and
Agricultural Training Centres began to accept female students. This
occurred for several reasons.

First, the decade for the advancement of women brought a focus on
women's productive and reproductive roles. Economic as well as domestic
issues concerning women came to the fore. Various UN agencies selected
specific aspects of these multifaceted issues. FAO concentrated on
agriculture, food and nutrition.

Second, information in the form of case studies, statistical
indicators, and scholarly and media presentations began pouring in from
many places in the world providing data about women's major productive
roles in rural economies.

As I stated earlier, the most relevant change for FAO and its
Member Governments was clearly addressed in the Declaration of Principles
and the Programme of Action adopted in 1979 by the World Conference on
Agrarian Reform and Rural Development. Although the issue of women in
development was discussed by FAO bodies through different Resolutions in
1966, 1975 and 1977, it was in 1979 that the Organization stated that:

"Women should participate and contribute on an equal basis with
men in the social, economic and political processes of rural development
and share fully in improved conditions of life in rural areas",

and also that:

"recognition of the vital role of women in socio-economic life in
both agricultural and non agricultural activities ... is a prerequisite for
successful rural development planning and programme implementation".

37 -

Through these statements, the advancement to a participatory and
integrative approach began.

In the 1980's, greater emphasis has been placed on the economic
issues as they concern women and in determining whether or not gender
issues are important in agricultural matters. The issue of women's roles in
food security also has been considered in greater depth. In fact, in 1983
FAO's Committee on Agriculture reviewed a strategy paper outlining areas
where the Organization could assist countries with programmes supporting
women as food producers, and it introduced the concept of Food Security at
the Household Level. Subsequently, an expert consultation on Women and Food
Production that provided recommendations pertinent to policies, programmes
and implementation at national, regional and international levels was held
at headquarters in December 1983. This is the one I participated in and
referred to at the beginning of this talk. Afterwards, a series of
government and expert consultations and regional conferences were held to
discuss women in' agricultural and rural development, to analyse their
contribution in food production and food security, and to make
recommendations for action.

A Regional Government Consultation, attended by 37 African Member
States was held in Harare in 1984. Its recommendations were endorsed at the
FAO Regional Conference on Changing Agrarian Systems Towards Rural Poverty
Alleviation, also held in Harare in 1984, that requested FAO to continue to
improve the socio-economic indicators relevant to monitoring and evaluation
systems, a subject on which we will focus more closely during this
Consultation. The Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific held in 1986
urged Member Governments to make sex-disaggregated data available and urged
research and extension staff to focus on mechanization and improved tech-
nologies for farm women. Similarly, the Conference for Latin America and
the Caribbean in 1986 recommended access to ownership and administration of
land while the Conference for the Near East, also in 1986, urged the
inclusion of women in training programmes designed to increase the skills
of agricultural labourers. All Conferences had many recommendations and
specific actions on which FAO should focus. You received copies of these
recommendations in the packet of your materials, (Members of the House and
others may request these items from the Service).

Another document, also in your packet, summarizes Resolutions of
FAO Conferences on Women's Issues between 1975 and 1986. In the long list
of resolutions, Member Governments were invited to ensure that women
participate on an equitable basis in the policy making, planning, and
implementation process in all agricultural and rural development
programmmes. The FAO Council and Conference of Member Nations mandated
that information on the progress of the integration of women in all FAO
programmes be regularly submitted to them.

In terms of the Decade for Women, let me make some specific
comments on the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of
the United Nations for Women that was held in Nairobi in 1985. As many of
you know, the Forward-Looking Strategies that were adopted in that
Conference, represent a new step in the evolution of the approach
concerning the integration of women in development. Of course, FAO was
actively involved in the formulation of those strategies, particularly


- 38 -

concerning the areas of food,-water and agriculture. Some issues that were
pertinent for FAO activities included: the concept of women in food
systems; the needs for working with technical ministries mainly rather than
only through women's machineries or social ministries; and support to
women's organizations for agricultural activities.

The recent phase, that we can call "post-Nairobi" is based- onn-
developments of mechanisms to implement the mandates approved by-that
Conference in 1985.

First, the United Nations formulated a System-Wide Medium-Term
Plan to put the Nairobi Forward-Looking Strategies into specific programmes
and activities. In this Plan, FAO has major responsibilities in the
following areas: food and agriculture, nutrition, water and energy,
development of statistics and indicators, information dissemination,
technical cooperation, and training and technology. Until 1995, we will be
implementing the Plan and monitoring and reporting results to the
Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Second, beginning in 1986, we have started a process of coding FAO
activities and projects in order to identify to what extent rural women are
targeted as beneficiaries and as participants. The results will be
monitored and reported in 1989.

Finally, the experience accumulated by FAO in the last several
years has been summarized in a policy paper entitled "Women in Agriculture
and Rural Development: FAO's Programme Directions", that was presented to
the General Conference in November 1987. This paper addressed the
importance of utilizing a two-pronged approach for dealing with women's
concerns. One approach is to have specific projects oriented exclusively to
women. These have a demonstrative role and help us to test and improve
mechanisms and methodologies of technical assistance to rural women. The
other is to promote the integration of women's issues and of women as
beneficiaries in all FAO projects and activities. This approach focuses on
integrating women into mainstream programmes and projects.

We are presently trying to reflect this conceptual evolution in
the formulation of the Plan of Action for the Integration of Women in
Development that will be discussed in November 1988 by the FAO Council.
After discussing the FAO institutional structure, I will outline the major
aspects of the Plan.

II. FAO Institutional Structure

I would like to say a few brief words about FAO institutional
structure and its relevance for this Expert Consultation. I believe it is
important to clarify as much as possible FAO's institutional framework in
order to establish a close linkage between the recommendations that this
Expert Consultation is supposed to produce and the structure of FAO that is
supposed to implement them.

FAO is the largest of the UN specialized agencies with a
membership of 158 Member Governments and has received a mandate to carry
out activities in four main areas:

-39 -

it develops a major programme of technical advice and assistance for
the agricultural community on behalf of governments and development
funding agencies;

it collects, analyses and disseminates information;

- it advises governments on policy and planning;

it provides opportunities for governments to meet and discuss food and
agricultural problems.

For the purposes of this Consultation, it is important for you to
know that FAO has four main technical Departments dealing respectively with
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishery and Economic and Social Policy. Moreover,
the contact for field programmes, programme coordination and liaison with
donors is provided by the Development Department. The booklet entitled
World Food Report, 1987, gives a simplified chart of the organizational
structure on page 64.

It is important to note that FAO is not a funding agency but a
technical agency providing expertise to countries in the implementation of
national or regional projects. It aims at the improvement of the living
conditions of rural people and at the elimination of hunger and poverty.
The funds for this work come from three principal sources. Nearly half is
provided by donor countries through Trust Fund programmes or from loans
from financing institutions; about forty per cent comes from the United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP); and the remaining ten per cent is
constituted by FAO's Technical Cooperation Programme financed from its own
Regular Programme. This Regular Programme budget -is financed by Member
Governments on the basis of a scale set by the UN General Assembly. Most of
the budget is used to cover expenditures that produce services and
technical assistance for developing countries.

FAO gives direct, practical help in the developing world through
technical assistance projects in all areas of food and agriculture. Our
concept of agriculture encompasses not only agricultural and rural
development, but also includes fisheries and forestry.

FAO field projects, of which there were approximately 2 500 in
operation last year, strengthen local institutions, assist research and
training, and develop and demonstrate new techniques. FAO projects normally
involve local people and national staff and are designed to be followed up
by local or national action.

FAO is able to offer its assistance to countries through five
regional offices located in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Near East,
Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean. It works through a network of
FAO Representatives, accredited to most developing countries, who organize
and coordinate all of FAO's assistance and programmes being implemented in
each country.

According to its mandates, FAO is committed to making its concern
for rural women visible and effective in its programmes and projects at all
stages and in all fields. The Women in Agricultural Production and Rural

- 40 -

Development Service is the Organization's principal unit addressing women's
issues. Its activities include:

policy formulation at international, regional and country levels,
including preparation of FAO inputs on "Women in Development" to
international meetings and assistance to national-level machineries
responsible for women issues;

- the development and implementation of technical agricultural field
projects benefiting women;

the reorientation of home economics training programmes for women to
focus on women's economic and productive activities; and

the promotion of population education in order to integrate demographic
issues in agricultural and rural development planning and programmes
for women.

An essential internal task of the Service is to provide the
technical secretariat support for the Inter-Divisional Working Group on
Women in Development whose main purpose is to encourage all FAO Departments
and Divisions to integrate women's concerns into their mainstream
development activities.

As you can see from this extremely brief description of FAO's
structure concerning rural women, the recommendations from this Expert
Consultation may be considered at two different levels: first, those of a
more concrete nature that are relevant to the technical service dealing
with women's issues in FAO; and second, those of a more general nature
regarding appropriate mechanisms to integrate women into the process of
rural development within all technical activities being implemented by FAO
and Member Governments.

III. The FAO Plan of Action

I now turn to the FAO Plan of Action for Integration of Women in
Development. The FAO Conference in 1987 requested that the Director-General
submit this Plan to the Council in November of this year. The Plan is based
on FAO's commitment within the UN System to the Nairobi-Forward Looking
Strategies which is a pledge by the Member Governments to take concrete
steps by the year 2000 to eliminate all political, economic, social and
cultural forms of sex-based discrimination.

Here are some general actions envisaged for the period 1990-1995
as described by the Plan that is currently in the process of being

FAO's major objectives in overall terms are threefold:

(1) to review and monitor the main events on women in development in order
to have an overview of global issues and a vision for future

- 41 -

(2) to work on Women in Development policies and to promote them at
national and international levels;

(3) to identify research needs at global level and to orient national
programmes to mobilize resources on behalf of women.

For these objectives to occur, the concern for WID issues must
also be applied within FAO itself:

S the entire FAO staff itself has to be convinced of the cause;

- the internal machinery for WID has to be reinforced and this should
include effective monitoring devices;

- a more systematic and intensive dialogue with and advice from FAO's
governing bodies needs to be established;

- a network of working relations to external partners in the WID
endeavour has to be built; this should imply a strengthened working
relationship with research institutions, women's associations, NGOs and
the other agencies in the UN system;

- FAO will have to integrate WID concerns into its general development
philosophy and actions.

Substantively, the major thrust of FAO's activities will continue
to be directed to supporting women in their roles as agricultural
producers. Within this framework, future activities will give greater
recognition to women's special needs for (a) income-producing activities
and control of income; (b) educational and training opportunities and (c)
technologies and other means to ease both the burden and increase the
productivity of women's work.

I should note that by income-producing activities, we want to look
at methods of providing substantial, sustainable income for women using
mainstream methods. We do not want to continue to formulate small-scale,
non-sustainable, and insignificant income-generating projects with low
levels of remuneration to rural women.

The Plan of Action itself concentrates on four spheres: the civil
and legal, the economic, the social and the decision-making.

In the civil status sphere, FAO envisages actions in terms of:

- efforts to develop an inventory of national legal instruments as they
pertain to women in agriculture; special areas of attention will be
given to land tenureship, access to credit and membership in
development organizations and co-operatives; and

- the promotion of sharing of experiences among Member Governments and
the provision of advisory and training services to developing countries
that desire to bring national legislation into conformity with
international standards.


- 42 -

In the- economic status sphere, the Plan considers agricultural
production, food processing and marketing, formal and informal sector
employment, and income control and economic adjustment.

FAO's actions proposed in agricultural production are:

S to obtain a clearer global picture of gender issues on land tenure,
landlessness and survival strategies, and to assist countries to make
women beneficiaries of agrarian reform and settlement programmes;

S to assist countries to re-orient agricultural extension systems to
include WID concerns in the dissemination of policy, technologies and
training. This includes the development of appropriate curriculum for
pre- and in-service extension training programmes and the promotion of
broader extension messages to respond to household and farm management
responsibilities of women;

- to sensitize governments and in-country financial institutions to open
up adequate credit sources to women. Viable credit schemes need to be
developed for women farmers as part of delivery systems containing
other technical and commercial services;

- to promote generation, improvement and transfer to women of
technologies related to their agricultural activities;

- to establish stronger linkages between research and technology
development institutions;

- to orient farming systems research and extension to gender issues and
intra-household dynamics;

- to strengthen nutrition components of farm management;

to reorient project support and extension efforts in fishery,
particularly acquaculture;

- to address women's needs in forestry, particularly women's role in
community forestry, tree-cropping and forest based small-scale

- to ensure the participation of women in irrigation programmes,
focusing on training rural women in small farm irrigation works and
management and maintenance;

- to assess both the involvement of women in cash crop production and the
impact of its modernization on agricultural work of women;

S to extend horticulture development activities increasingly to women,
especially related to fruit trees, vegetable crops, mushrooms, roots
and tubers;

to promote women's involvement with livestock production of small
ruminants (sheep, goats), small stock (pigs, rabbits, poultry) as well
as of large animals such as cattle for dairying and stall-feeding.

- 43 -

In terms of food-processing and marketing, FAO proposes:

to increase women's access to improved techniques and technologies for
food processing, storage and marketing;

to promote women's participation in marketing organizations and the
provision of facilities for women, such as child care centres, storage
facilities, etc.;

to improve women's access to credit, revolving funds and vehicles for

to strengthen the capacity of national agencies to train women in
improved marketing practices.

Concerning employment and the informal: sector, FAO supports

- to study women's participation in the agricultural labour market;

- to assist countries in macro-economic assessment of the impact on women
of male out-migration, seasonal labour market fluctuations, wage
trends, and to design adequate policy responses to these issues;

- to support women in the informal sector through income-producing
activities and projects.

As Mr. Moreno has pointed out this morning, economic adjustment
measures are falling heavily on the shoulders of women. At the same time,
women still have only limited control over household income and
decision-making at the community level.

In terms of income control and economic adjustment, FAO therefore

- to study the effect of the economic crisis and adjustment on women;

- to promote income-producing activities for women;

- to sensitize household members to the importance of women's
participation in decision-making.

In the social sphere, there are three aspects that FAO addresses.
These are (1) population, (2) nutrition, home economics and quality of
life, and (3) education.

FAO recognizes the inter-relation of population factors such as
family size, composition and migration to rural and agricultural
development. FAO proposes action to study this relationship and to develop
training materials, workshops and manuals for project planners and

FAO foresees action to improve nutrition and the quality of life

- 44 -

encouraging a balanced, integrated approach in development policies and
programmes at the international and national levels;

assisting governments to develop food and nutrition policies and
programmes and strengthening nutrition education and training; and

including such topics as food processing, preparation and conservation
techniques and transportation (of water, fuel, goods and people) in
regular projects.

FAO envisions actions to improve rural women's access to education
as well as ways to modernize national and local level educational
programmes. These actions include:

- assisting governments in revising and rationalizing their educational
systems in relation to women in terms of providing better facilities
and more appropriate curricula;

S strengthening regional networks of higher and middle level educational
institutions and ensuring increased attention to women's attendance;

- reorganizing the training of educators and education planners to
include WID topics;

- redesigning curricula in home economics programmes from domestic
science to current topics such as resource allocation and time

- promoting practical agricultural education for rural women; and

facilitating greater participation of women in agricultural

In the decision-making sphere, FAO plans to improve women's parti-
cipation in institutions and in people's organizations. These include:

- monitoring the ratio of women in higher agricultural educational
institutions including in the mainstream production sciences;

- increasing participation of women in FAO training sessions;

S increasing the percentage of women in FAO at the professional and
managerial levels; and

developing a more comprehensive roster of women experts and

In terms of people's organizations, FAO will promote the
establishment of women's and mixed-gender local organizations such as
co-operatives, farmers self-help associations, credit and savings unions.
It will promote training programmes for women's associations and increase
the capacity for dialogue and negotiation of women's groups.

- 45 -

To carry out the actions indicated in these four spheres the
civil status, economic, social and decision-making spheres certain
instruments are needed. The FAO Plan of Action reviews these tools and
advances plans for improving (1) the collection and utilization of
statistics and indicators, (2) the types of training and public informa-
tion, and (3) technical assistance.

Concerning the latter, FAO will focus on promoting substantive
agricultural topics and projects such as integrative pest management, seed
selection programmes, and irrigation to assist women farmers, rather than
only focusing on the creation of women's groups for small-scale income-
generating activities or the delivery of limited technologies. Specific
activities that FAO will focus on include guidelines for incorporating WID
concerns into projects, a manual on new concepts of reaching women in field
activities, the coding of all FAO projects in terms of gender of partici-
pants and beneficiaries, and assessing the impact on women as a routine
procedure in project appraisal, monitoring and evaluation procedures.

To summarize what the Plan will encompass, FAO recognizes the need
for a comprehensive view and a multi-sectoral balance of WID and gender
issues within the Organization as well as the co-ordination of WID
activities at the international level.

Monitoring and appraisal has to be an integrated part of any
implementation process. FAO, therefore, foresees specific actions to
monitor the progress of implementing its Plan of Action. Among other
things, it is planned to include a gender code into FAO's Regular Programme
planning and evaluation system and to introduce a monitoring system in the
Field Programme in order to ensure that attention has been given to gender
considerations in every stage of the project cycle: identification,
formulation, implementation and evaluation.

IV. Purpose and Scope of this Consultation

My final comments are on the purpose and scope of this

As participants at this Consultation, you are to advise the
Director-General and the Women in Agricultural Production and Rural
Development Service in your personal capacities as experts. We want to
learn your lessons and to have examples of your experiences, both from your
specific countries and from your regions.

In terms of institutional changes, there are a number of points to

S first, that there are some key issues that cross-cut regions and types
of programmes;

S second, although many countries are sympathetic to WID legislation,
implementation of the full impact of legal equality into concrete
access to resources has been less of a priority. Please be specific in
your descripti- .- of i -p! n -nta-ton, especially the successful
experiences you have had.

- 46 -

third, projects for women in many countries have been confined to
Social Ministries rather than included in the agendas of Ministries of
Agriculture. Furthermore, Women's Units in Ministries of Agriculture
may still be focusing on non-agricultural aspects of women's roles.
Experiences relating to mainstream agricultural units would be

fourth, having women highly placed in governmental structures does not
automatically mean that more attention will be paid to the needs of
women or that the concern for women's issues are assured. Please
comment on the importance of personnel, both women and men, who have
facilitated the inclusion of women's issues in institutional changes.

The annotated agenda guides us to be concerned with specific
aspects dealing with the integration of WID in the planning process. Please
provide the details of the procedures and mechanisms that have helped
ensure that these issues are taken into consideration in all stages of
planning. We want to be able to use your experiences of what works in the
planning of FAO programmes and projects.

In terms of monitoring and evaluating of agriculture and rural
development projects, we need to know what has been effective and what
instruments have been used. Concomitantly, what have been the pitfalls and
activities that did not succeed? How do monitoring and evaluation
instruments account for women as participants and non-participants and as
beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries? What tools can we use to distinguish
these categories?

Finally, most units are involved with staff training to one degree
or another. But what really works to integrate women's issues into the
planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluation processes? What types
of staff members need the training and what are effective mechanisms and
techniques to convince people of the real need to take WID issues into
account in their daily activities and educational programmmes?

With these lengthy remarks, I want to close this paper with the
comment that we shall present the recommendations of this Expert
Consultation along with our Plan of Action to the FAO Council in November.
Our task during these three days is by no means an easy one, and there may
not be ready answers for all the issues. However, we must discuss, debate,
and distill the essential elements as scientifically as possible in order
to increase our wisdom and our actions.

Thank you.

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs