Front Cover
 Women's contribution to animal...

Title: World animal review
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00089487/00001
 Material Information
Title: World animal review
Series Title: World animal review.
Abbreviated Title: World anim. rev.
Physical Description: 64 no. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations -- Animal Production and Health Division
Publisher: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Place of Publication: Rome
Publication Date: 1983
Frequency: quarterly
Subject: Animal industry -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Livestock -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Animal products -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Animals, Domestic -- Periodicals   ( mesh )
Veterinary Medicine -- Periodicals   ( mesh )
ANIMAL HEALTH   ( unbist )
FOOD PRODUCTION   ( unbist )
LIVESTOCK   ( unbist )
WILDLIFE   ( unbist )
Genre: international intergovernmental publication   ( marcgt )
periodical   ( marcgt )
Citation/Reference: Chemical abstracts
Dates or Sequential Designation: no. 1-65; 1972-88.
Issuing Body: Prepared by FAO's Animal Production and Health Division.
General Note: Title from cover.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00089487
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 - 01773050
lccn - sn 85012441
issn - 0049-8025
 Related Items
Succeeded by: Revue mondiale de zootechnie
Succeeded by: Revista mundial de zootecnia
Succeeded by: World animal review (Multilingual ed.)

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Women's contribution to animal husbandry and production
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
Full Text

REVIEW a quarterly journal on animal health, production and products -1983





Women's contribution to animal

husbandry and production

The lead article in this issue of World Animal Review, "Women's contribution to animal
husbandry and production", is itself an important contribution toward providing a deeper
understanding of the problems involved in bringing about increased participation of
women at the professional level and in the development aspects of animal husbandry,
production and health.
FAO's views on the subject (and of course those of its Division of Animal Pro-
duction and Health) are quite clear. The Director-General's Bulletin 77/57 of October 1977
commenced with the statement that "Equality between men and women is a guiding
principle of this Organization". This principle was further highlighted in the recommen-
dations of the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development held at
FAO in 1979, concerning the integration of women in the rural development process.
The Director-General, in his address to the staff of FAO in January 1983, further
stressed the great importance he attached to the employment of women within the
The article on "Women's contribution to animal husbandry and production" in this
issue touches on a number of problems which handicap FAO's efforts to increase the
participation of women at the professional levels and in development, at least in the
disciplines of animal production and veterinary science.
It must be appreciated that many of these difficulties stem from deeply rooted
national social traditions and feelings and it will take time to overcome them within the
countries concerned. Progress in the education and training of women in the animal pro-
duction and health disciplines is, however, being made, even if slowly.
The situation in Finland, for example, where women outnumber men in the university
disciplines of animal husbandry and veterinary science, demonstrates the progress which
is possible in some countries. In Finland, this was largely a result of the Second World
War when women had to take over the work on farms and in agricultural production when
the men were called to the front. Since then, men have tended to enter the new fields
of industrial and scientific technology whereas women have preferred work involving the
care of animals.
Even in the most developed countries, increasing numbers of women are entering
the animal husbandry and production and veterinary science fields and this must, in due
course, have a beneficial effect on the number of women selected for professional posts.
In many countries, however, progress Is bound to be slow and this has to be accepted.
That efforts are continuing will be clear from the fact that a joint Home Economics
and Social Programmes Service/Plant Production and Protection Division/Animal Pro-
duction and Health Division Expert Consultation on Women in Food Production is to be
held at FAO Headquarters, Rome, in December 1983. This Consultation will cover crops
and livestock, placing special emphasis on dairy animals, sheep and goats, rabbits and
poultry as livestock suitable for small-scale farming.

C I II-L-YIIYI I-- -- 11 1111111 Y ly I IY Y I II Y IYY IYYY Y YI_




* C. Oxby

Equality between men and
women is a guiding principle
of FAO. Naturally the
difficulties in bringing about the
increased participation of
women in some professions are
greater than in others and this
is the case in the various
disciplines involved in animal
husbandry and production.
However, the advantages to be
gained in many countries in
promoting the greater
participation of women at the
professional and subprofessional
levels, and especially in
development activities, are such
that efforts in this direction
must be continued.
This article, by a highly
qualified and experienced social
anthropologist who spent one
year living a nomadic life with
Tuareg pastoralists in the Niger,
pinpoints many of the
difficulties involved and suggests
ways and means of overcoming

* Clare Oxby, Research Officer at the
Overseas Development Institute, 10
Percy Street, London W1, UK, under-
took a consultancy on behalf of
FAO's Human Resources, Institutions
and Agrarian Reform Division on the
subject of this article. She wishes to
thank Dr Ingrid Palmer, an authority
on the role of women in development,
for her comments on the manuscript,
and also the FAO Photo Library for
their help in obtaining photographs
for this article (excepting Figs 3
and 4, which are her own).

f thought is given to development
programmes and projects in animal
husbandry and production such as,
for example, cattle ranching and milk
marketing projects, it might well be
concluded that women play a relatively
insignificant role, if indeed they play
any role at all, since project officials
and direct beneficiaries of the projects
are almost always men. If, on the
other hand, consideration is given not
only to development programmes and
projects, but also to the societies which
practise animal husbandry, then a
somewhat different picture emerges
regarding women's role in this im-
portant sector of the economies of
many developing countries.
Although in many societies the
management and care of animals is
predominantly men's work, this is by
no means always the case. In some
instances, it is predominantly women's
work and their special responsibility,
for example, to look after small ru-
minants and chickens in crop farming
communities. In other cases it is not
of primary importance whether the
activity is the duty of men or women;
it may be suitable primarily for young
people, both girls and boys, who often
undertake such light tasks as the
herding of sheep and goats (see Fig. 1).
Men or women of low status, on the
other hand, are often responsible for
heavy tasks such as watering animals
from deep wells (see Figs 2 and 3).
Finally, the management and care of
animals may be the responsibility of
wealthy men and women, who own
their herds and flocks and consequently
take the most important management
decisions (see Fig. 4).

Even where the management and
care of animals is predominantly
men's work, women may be respon-
sible for important subsidiary tasks,
such as milking and processing milk,
collecting fodder (see Fig. 5), drying
cow-dung for fuel (see Fig. 6) and
looking after and feeding lactating,
young or sick animals that do not
follow the main herd or flock out into
the pastures. As may be seen, an
important gap exists between the role
of women in animal husbandry in
actual life and as it is reflected in
development plans. This article sets
out to explain the reasons for the gap
and to suggest ways of narrowing it.

Lack of information about household

Some of the reasons why this gap
exists are related to the general process
of development planning and imple-
mentation involved in all fields of
agricultural development; others are
related specifically to the field of
animal husbandry. With regard to
the former, there is often a lack of
information available to planners re-
garding the social organization of the
communities benefiting from the proj-
ects. This is because projects have
often been more concerned with dem-
onstrating to interested individuals
new husbandry techniques (which are
new to the beneficiaries although
familiar to planners) than improving
and adapting the techniques and social
organization of labour that already
exist in the community. Thus, similar
projects have been implemented in

world animal review 48

\, le, ... y .' ..

l'- 7

~;~- ~r

Figure 1. A bedouin shepherdess grazes
the household flock near Irbid, Jordan
Figure 2. Women drawing water from
a deep well for household cattle at a
village near Zinder, the Niger
Figure 3. Tuareg migration north of
Maradi, the Niger: low-status woman
with household cooking utensils
Figure 4. Tuareg migration north of
Maradi, the Niger: wealthy woman
herd owner led by one of her herdsmen
Figure 5. Woman bringing fodder from
the fields to her home, between Pokhara
and Tansen, Nepal
Figure 6. Woman drying cow-dung for
fuel, Ethiopia

T '-,'.- -
4e^4^ *

september-october 1983





countries and communities which differ
greatly from each other and infor-
mation about the social organization
of production in other areas has not
even been considered or has been
deemed of only marginal importance.
Because of this lack of information,
even the most well-intentioned planner
may find it difficult to design projects
which adequately relate to local con-
Two areas on which information is
particularly lacking are the division
of labour according to the sex of the
worker and the social organization at
the household level. A close exami-
nation of development plans usually
reveals that a division of labour and
a household organization typical of
industrial societies are assumed to
exist. This is the case even when
plans are applied to non-industrial
societies or to rural communities in
newly industrialized countries where
the division of labour, particularly the
division of labour according to the
sex of the worker, may be quite
Because poultry farms or milk-
collection centres in industrial societies
are usually run by men, it is generally
taken for granted that they should
also be run by men in non-industrial
societies. Comparatively little is
known about the division of animal
husbandry tasks between men and
women in non-industrial societies;
moreover, some of the information
available is a distortion of reality.
The 1976 Peasant Family Survey in
Peru, which estimated the proportion
of agricultural work done by women,
excluded women's work with livestock
on two counts: first, it excluded any
intermittent participation of less than
four hours at a time and second, it
excluded any activities which were
subsidiary to crop farming, the main
form of production (Rogers, 1980).
The household unit may also be the
subject of great variation. What
planners understand by this term, in
the light of their own cultural back-
ground, may diverge widely from the
interpretation of the project benefi-

ciaries. If a household is defined as
the smallest unit of people living under
one roof and cooperating in matters
regarding food production and con-
sumption, then households in indus-
trial societies are generally smaller and
more regular in size than in non-
industrial societies, where they vary
from small nuclear families to large
extended families. Moreover, in many
rural areas of Africa family members
do not necessarily live under the same
roof, cooperate over food production
nor eat together.
Furthermore, it may be misleading
to assume that there is a male head
of the household who takes all the
decisions regarding the agricultural
operations of the household on behalf
of its members, that he is the person
to contact when implementing a project
and that he will pass on to interested
household members any relevant in-
formation or benefits arising from the
project. In the first place, a significant
proportion of heads of households
may be female, and this is especially
likely when male members of the
community migrate over long distances
in search of work. The Integrated
Rural Survey of Kenya, 1974-75,
showed that, in the Western Province
of that country, 19 percent of the heads
of households were women (Noble and
Nolan, 1982). Even more important,
different individuals may take deci-
sions in relation to different aspects
of agricultural production; the house-.
hold head may not be able to influence
decisions beyond the area which is
recognized to be his responsibility, and
it may therefore be impossible for him
to enforce certain procedures or prac-
tices laid down by the project autho-
rities. Moreover, the process of sin-
gling out male heads of households
as the sole direct beneficiaries of proj-
ects may increase or even create in-
equalities between them and other
household members because of the
lack of access of the latter to new
knowledge, new facilities or new bene-
fits. Projects which have centred
around male heads of households may,
therefore, have unwittingly excluded

interested women from participation.
Other reasons why there is a gap
between the practical everyday role
of women in animal husbandry and
production and the role reflected in
development plans are specific to ani-
mal husbandry and to the societies in
which it is practised. Again, distinc-
tions must be made between animal
husbandry as practised in industrial
and non-industrial societies. Within
the latter, a further distinction can be
made between societies whose liveli-
hood depends mainly upon animals
(usually referred to as pastoral so-
cieties) and those where animal hus-
bandry is but a subsidiary activity
and whose livelihood depends mainly
upon crop farming. The role of wom-
en in animal husbandry and the impact
of development projects in the live-
stock sector will now be considered
in the context of these different types
of society. It should be emphasized
that the distinctions made between
different types of society necessarily
represent an over-simplification of the
situation, since non-industrial forms
of animal production survive in farm-
yards in rural areas of the most highly
industrialized societies. Nevertheless,
the distinctions have been made in
order to clarify the discussion.

Pastoral societies

Relatively little is known about the
household organization of pastoral
societies. At a recent international
conference on the "Future of Pastoral
Peoples", one session drew attention
to this lack of information and made
a plea for researchers in the 1980s to
focus more attention on the following
aspects: decision-making within the
household; the sources of income of
different family members; the rights to
use milk and other produce; and the
rights of disposal of animals and
animal products in many African
pastoral societies, the wife's or son's
consent is often needed when the
person responsible for the management
of the herd wants to dispose of one

world animal review 48

Figure 7. Women and girls carry
milk to the rural collecting centre,
Figure 8. A technician prepares.
pig blood samples to: be examined
for the presence of African swine
fever at the DARNDR Laboratory,
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Figure 9. Woman milking one of
her yaks in the pastures of Pike,

of their animals (Broch-Due, Garfield
and Langton, 1981).
It is known, however, that women
in pastoral societies, especially women
of high status, commonly own some
animals; that women of low status
often share some of the heavier herd-
ing tasks; and that girls carry out
some of the lighter herding tasks.
Although women usually milk ani-
mals, this is not always the case;
among the Tuareg of the Niger, for

example, milking is ideally the work
of men of low status and women of
high status would resist doing it
(Oxby, 1978). Among the Fulani of
West Africa, women milk the house-
hold animals (whether they own them
or not), own the milk they obtain, and
are free to take it to the local market
and sell it for their own benefit (Du-
pire, 1960; see Fig. 7). In central and
northern Somalia, the butchery trade
in sheep and goats is almost exclu-

september-october 1983


sively in the hands of women, while
their participation in the cattle butch-
ery trade includes most activities
except killing (Reusse, 1982).
Although a large proportion of ani-
mals in many developing countries is
owned and managed by pastoral peo-
ple, it is not common to find projects
designed specifically for these people,
let alone for pastoral women. The
vast majority of animal husbandry
development projects is aimed either
at crop farmers, who are encouraged
to take up animal husbandry or to
expand and intensify it, or they have
no specific target group in view. They
aim to demonstrate intensive methods
and modern techniques of animal hus-
bandry to sufficiently motivated or
sufficiently wealthy individuals who
can either follow the examples set or
are sufficiently qualified to be eligible
to benefit. A survey of 36 FAO ani-
mal husbandry projects in February
1982 in 12 West African countries
where some of the inhabitants are
pastoral people shows this clearly.
One project in Mali had a women's
animal production component, but the
target communities in this case were
settled people who relied more on
agricultural than animal production
for their livelihood (Oxby, 1982). Only
one of the projects specifically set out
to reach pastoral people and then only
in a preparatory phase of a project
formulation. An otherwise excellent
socio-economic report on the Mauri-
tanian pastoral people in the one
project concerned made no reference
to household organization or to the
division of labour according to sex
and assumed that only men were
involved in animal husbandry and
were to be the beneficiaries of the
project. A proposal for extension by
radio broadcasts included cheese-
making as a possible topic but no
indication was given that women might
take part, either in cheese-making or
in the broadcasts. Indeed, the author
has yet to hear of a development proj-
ect where the animal husbandry com-
ponent is directed toward the women
of a pastoral society.

Societies practising mixed farming

In societies where animal husbandry
is a subsidiary form of production,
and crop farming the main one, the
latter is often the responsibility of
men, the former the responsibility of
women. One reason for this is that
animal husbandry on a small scale
can be undertaken in the vicinity of
the household and can, therefore, be
combined with other household chores
which usually fall to women, such as
cooking and looking after children.
This pattern occurs most frequently
in the case of poultry but also with
other small animals such as rabbits
and pigs. It also occurs with small
numbers of larger animals such as
sheep, goats and even cattle. Women
in the north of India, for example,
look after the lactating buffaloes, milk
them and carry the milk to dairy
cooperatives or to collection centres
run by private traders (Somjee and
Somjee, 1976); they then use the profit
as they think fit. Women in China
generally care for pigs, poultry and
silkworms and also collect manure
(Croll, 1979).
Another reason for this division of
labour between men and women is
that the form of production providing
the main source of income in a given
community is usually valued more
highly by community members than
are the subsidiary sources of income.
It is, therefore; consistent with wom-
en's dependent and consequently in-
ferior status in society, that it generally
should be they who perform the not
so highly valued tasks involved in the
subsidiary sources of income. In some
societies the subsidiary form of pro-
duction, though not valued highly, may
still represent an important source of
income. In some Kenyan crop-farming
communities, for example, women may
care for and manage large flocks of
sheep and goats and derive income
from the sale of animals; this situation
is particularly common when men are
working away in the towns.
Unlike the case of pastoral societies,
there have been many animal hus-

bandry projects in communities prac-
tising mixed farming. Because the
mixed farmer is settled, many of the
problems which arise in connection
with nomadic pastoral people do not
apply since fixed services can be
brought to villages; crop farmers do
not usually live in such remote places
as pastoral people and it is, therefore,
easier to adapt the expert's concepts
of improved animal husbandry under
local conditions. Yet the projects still
encounter problems, such as, for ex-
ample, the division of labour and
responsibility on the basis of the sex
of the worker.

Problems in training women

There have been a number of oc-
casions when project directors and
planners have realized that the success
of a project was being undermined by
the fact that, although the main effort
was aimed at male heads of house-
holds, much of the animal production
work was performed by women. Con-
sequently, without the direct involve-
ment of women in project activities
it was difficult for the project to
achieve much success. In some cases
it was possible to rectify this to some
extent by involving women alongside
men. However, this was not generally
possible since women could not always
both attend demonstrations and carry
out their household duties. Further-
more, in highly segregated societies, it
is not always acceptable for women
to attend demonstrations alongside
Even if project authorities realize
this problem they may find there is
no easy solution since in many so-
cieties it is difficult for outsiders such
as extension workers to approach
female household members directly, or
without the presence of the head of
the household. This is well illustrated
by experience with an FAO poultry
project in Pakistan: "During a poultry
vaccination campaign it was discov-
ered that chickens kept by village
women were being missed. It was

world animal review 48

culturally inappropriate for male vet-
erinary assistants to visit these women,
whose husbands were absent, to vac-
cinate their chickens. Many husbands
had migrated. The realization that
the unvaccinated birds were a po-
tential source of infection for the
whole village, and therefore an ob-
stacle to the introduction of improved
breeds, led to extensive training of
female extension workers to improve
contacts with village women", (FAO,
1983). This indicates the necessity
for female extension staff, even though
this may create further problems since
it may be difficult for single women
to travel alone in rural areas or for
married women to travel without their
husbands. Special solutions have,
therefore, to be worked out, depending
on the country, the region, the domi-
nant religion and so on. In some
places, it will be found appropriate
to place local female extension work-
ers within their home areas, or near
to where their husbands work; in
others, to train local women, either
young unmarried women or married
women, depending on local custom
regarding the movement of women on
their own. In areas where views on
such matters are strictly held, female
extension workers might work in pairs.
Problems may also arise when local
custom prohibits women from meeting
government officials or from attending
meetings in public places. In a dis-
cussion of the practical problems of
incorporating women into the develop-
ment process, Nelson (1981) suggests
that such restrictions may be circum-
vented by holding a series of smaller
meetings in the houses of the more
prestigious families, or by persuading
village leaders to set aside a certain
place, such as the schoolroom after
hours, for the use of women.
These difficulties have not meant
that women have been completely ex-
cluded from animal projects for crop
farmers. Indeed there have been some
areas of success, notably in the dairy
cooperatives in Anand, India, some of
which were established by and are
entirely managed by women (Somjee

and Somjee, 1976). Dairying is, how-
ever, recognized more as a women's
activity than other animal husbandry


To overcome some of these diffi-
culties, projects are now being designed
specifically for women in those com-
munities where women play a leading
role in animal husbandry. Examples
of such projects are: the above-men-
tioned poultry project in Pakistan, a
goat project in Kenya, a sheep and
goat project in Ethiopia and a small
ruminants' project in Rwanda. It is,
however, early days in the implemen-
tation of these women's projects. The
Kenyan Goat Project got off to a good
start in 1979, and after two years, its
successes were attributed to several
factors, including: valuable assistance
rendered to it by another animal pro-
duction project already in the area;
the acceptability of women caring for
goats in a society where only men care
for cattle; a scarcity of men in the
villages since many go to work in the
towns; and, of crucial importance, the
backing of a woman minister in the
Government concerned to better the
condition of women (Mohan, 1981).
A more detailed account of this
same project is given by Noble and
Nolan (1982); it is based on intensive
observations of the role of women in
the economy of the region, in the
project generally and in the women's
groups in particular. Noble and Nolan
noted that women hired men as
"watchmen" and "herdsmen". Men
were thus in salaried positions on a
women's project, and were in a posi-
tion to receive frequent training in goat
husbandry from the UNDP/FAO staff
providing assistance to the project.
Questionnaire data confirmed that 42
percent of the women felt they should
wait for absent husbands before mak-
ing major decisions regarding live-
stock. The authors suggest that project
authorities should take into account
men's not insignificant role in animal

husbandry rather than direct the proj-
ect solely toward women, and that
the project would be more acceptable
locally if it were a "family" project
rather than a "women's" project.
It would indeed be a matter for
regret if all the efforts to involve
women in animal husbandry projects
were concentrated on projects solely
for women. In many societies it would
be acceptable for women to participate
in projects alongside men, especially
those women of some seniority or
authority as, for example, female
household heads. Women could either
participate on an equal basis with men
or, if this were not acceptable, in a
different capacity. Since women often
tend sick animals, they could be
involved in the animal health compo-
nent of an animal husbandry project
otherwise directed toward men. Only
if such cooperation were found to be
unacceptable would it be necessary
to resort to separate women's projects.
Such projects run the risk of presenting
a threat to husbands who may resent
being totally excluded from project
activities unless, of course, the
project concerns a form of animal
husbandry which men locally do not
engage in as, for example, poultry
production. Taking full account of
the community's existing division of
labour according to the sex of the
worker is, therefore, the best guide
to follow in designing acceptable

Industrial societies

In industrial societies, animal hus-
bandry is generally more intensive and
the division of labour more marked.
Those involved are polarized into
managers and animal husbandry sci-
entists, on the one hand, and unskilled
labourers on the other. Moreover,
those who provide the herding labour
do not usually own the animals. The
labour force is further divided by sex
since women are largely excluded from
open-air jobs such as on cattle farms.
They may be employed in laboratory

september-october 1983


TABLE 1. FAO fellowships held in 1981

Number Total proxi.
of men mate
Course topic women and ratio
fl. women women/
fellows fellowtotal

Animal production 1 55 1:55
Animal health 1 65 1:65
Dairying 0 14 0:14
Soil/fertilizers 3 55 1:18
Water resources
(2 courses) 0 26 0:26
(6 courses) 18 416 1:23
Extension 2 48 1:24
Home economics/
Nutrition 4 22 1:5
(2 courses) 0 33 0:33
census/Statistics 1 32 1:32
(3 courses) 0 56 0:56
and wildlife
(3 courses) 0 92 0:92
Source: FAO, 1982.

TABLE 2. Women participants in national,
regional and interregional dairy training
courses assisted by Rural Dairy Develop-
ment and Training (RDDT) Centres by
region, up to 1 January 1981

Regional Courses National Courses

No. of % No. of %
women women women women
particle to total rtlci- to total
partcp artPci-
pants particl- parts partici-
pants pant pants

America 49 5.4 118 8.5
and the
Pacific 18 3.6 88 10.7
Africa 15 2.7 40 2.9
Near East 2 0.6 1 0.2

Interregional courses: 13 (2.2. percent)
Source: FAO, 1981.

and office jobs as, for example, tech-
nicians working on disease diagnosis
(see Fig. 8), but they are rarely in
-senior positions (partly because they
are not qualified see below). This
is consistent with beliefs common in
industrial societies that women are not
strong enough to handle animals,
should not be exposed to dirt and
weather, and are best suited to doing
clean desk work. Needless to say,
such beliefs are not necessarily held
in non-industrial societies, nor are
they in line with the realities of wom-
en's work bearing in mind the often
far-from-clean aspects of housework,
factory work, etc. that they so often do.

Education and training of women

One of the reasons why women are
not able to participate fully in the
design and administration of projects,
is because educational qualifications in
a branch of animal science are required
or at least are advantageous, and
relatively few women possess such
qualifications. This is why it is par-
ticularly important to examine the
ratio of women being trained in the
relevant disciplines.
Figures for the number of women
holding FAO fellowships in 1981 in
the various animal-husbandry related
subjects, including animal production,
animal health and dairy production
and processing are given in Table 1.
There were only 14 fellowships in
dairying and of these not one was held
by a woman despite the fact that
women often play an important role
in processing milk in non-industrial
societies. The fact that women should
be included in dairy training activities
was stressed in an article published in
the very first issue of World Animal
Review (Marsden, 1972). It is hoped
that the detailed practical suggestions
contained in that article regarding the
participation of women in the industry,
which are no less valid today than they
were then, will soon be put into prac-
tice. As to animal health and animal
production, the number of fellowships

granted was much higher (65 and 55
respectively) but of these only one was
awarded to a woman in each subject.
The female:total fellowship ratio is
notably lower here than in the case
of other subjects such as, as might be
expected, home economics, which has
the highest ratio (1:5), and agricultural
subjects such as agricultural extension.
On the other hand, there were subjects
in addition to dairying in which in
1981 no fellowships were granted to
women; these included agricultural
management, water resources, fisheries,
forestry and wildlife.
Figures for women participants in
national and international dairy train-
ing courses (see Table 2) show that
women are included but only in very
small numbers: 2 percent for inter-
regional courses, 1-5 percent for re-
gional courses and 1-11 percent for
national courses. The Near East, in
particular, has an especially low ratio.
This may be connected with the con-
straints in certain countries on women
travelling to courses and being away
from their homes. It is clear, however,
that because of women's traditional
role in milk handling and processing
at the household level, a great deal
of valuable knowledge and experience
is not being put to constructive use
in community development activities.
This is increasingly being appreciated
but the remedies applied will take time
to show results.
In the field of animal health, quali-
fied women veterinarians are relatively
rare (see Fig. 12). Figures were ob-
tained for the number of women as
a percentage of the total enrolment
of veterinary students at university
level for the academic year 1971-72
in 60 countries; in no case was the
percentage higher than 35 (Finland).
In one case, it was under 1 percent
(Pakistan) while in most countries it
ranged from between 1 to 20 percent.
Contrary to what might be expected,
it is difficult to correlate the percent-
age of women veterinary students with
the type of country, i.e. industrialized
versus developing countries, socialist
versus capitalist; Islamic versus Chris-

world animal review 48

Figure 10. Woman grazing her buffalo, Ta-Li People's Commune, China
Figure 11. Agricultural students learn the use and maintenance of ox-drawn
ploughs in Bobo-Dioldasso, the Upper Volta
Figure 12. A veterinarian in the Dominican Republic examines pig tissue for
evidence of a reaction indicating the presence of African swine fever

tian (see Fig. 13). It is sufficient to
stress here that in no country were
universities accepting as many women
as men in veterinary science education.
The reasons for this situation are
various and complex. One set of fac-
tors concerns the acceptability of wom-

en following any university course,
since it might be felt that domestic
and family responsibilities would in-
terfere with their academic activities.
In such cases only very wealthy women
would be in a position to follow a
course, 'assuming that others would

do their housework for them. Another
set of factors determines the likelihood
of women following a course in vet-
erinary science or animal husbandry
as opposed to other courses. Whereas
a higher proportion of students in
veterinary science than in other sub-

september-october 1983

jl mlr


iects come from rural areas and aim
to go back to work in those areas,
women attending university courses
are more likely to come from urban
areas and to have an urban career
in mind.
Another obstacle in the training of
women in veterinary science is the
common prejudice that women cannot
be veterinarians or animal husbandry
specialists because they are not strong
enough to handle large animals; How-
ever, how often do male veterinarians
or animal husbandry specialists have
to deal with large animals single-
handed? In fact, women and girls,
especially in non-industrial societies,
are commonly in control of heavy
animals such as camels (see Fig. 4),
yaks (see Fig. 9) and buffaloes (see
Fig. 10) without appearing to suffer
in any way. Moreover, on some agri-
cultural courses women are taught
how to use ox-drawn ploughs, which
is no light task (see Fig. 11).
Yet another opinion often voiced
is that development agencies should

not be seen to encourage women to
do strenuous work. It would be un-
realistic, however, to argue that a
veterinarian's ordinary daily duties are
any more strenuous than those of a
woman engaged in the daily tasks of
carrying water and firewood, hauling
water out of deep wells and pounding
hard grain in mortars, all of which
are common occupations of rural wom-
en throughout the developing world.
Of course, opinions of this kind may
be held by women as well as men,
with the result that far fewer women
than men are likely to apply for these
courses. Women may be further dis-
couraged from applying if they know
that such a low proportion of their
sex is likely to be accepted. For all
these reasons it is no easy task to
rectify the situation and change will
have to come about gradually.
To many it may seem unnecessary
to modify a system which is already
working quite well. However, a se-
nior woman animal production of-
ficer in a developing country pointed

out one good reason why there could
be special advantages in training
women veterinarians and animal hus-
bandry specialists. Women, she ar-
gued, may have more knowledge and
interest in the subject of veterinary
science and animal husbandry than
men because of their natural expe-
rience in the human reproductive
cycle, in bringing up their young and
in caring for the sick; and their
knowledge and experience of the rear-
ing and care of humans are readily
adaptable to training in animal hus-
bandry and veterinary science.
The training figures quoted in this
article are of particular relevance since
qualifications in the fields mentioned
may be a requirement or an advantage
in obtaining employment, not only in
connection with development projects
and activities but even more so in
national animal production and health
services. Employing women at the
local level may help to solve some
of the problems that project authori-
ties have in contacting local communi-

Iceland Albania Egypt Burma Poland Cuba Sri Lanka Finland
Colombia Belgium Canada Chile UK Bulgaria Denmark
Guatemala Italy France Austria Indonesia Germany Fed. Thailand
Rep. of
India Argentina Japan Hungary Uruguay
Iraq Bolivia The Netherlands Romania Venezuela Angola
Kenya Ecuador Portugal Yugoslavia
Nicaragua Mexico Spain Australia
Nigeria Philippines USA Greece
Pakistan The Sudan Brazil Norway
Republic of Turkey Dominican Rep. South Africa
Korea Paraguay Switzerland
Senegal Peru Iran. Isl.
Syrian Arab Viet Na Rep. of

Source: FAO. WHO. 1973.

Figure 13. Percentage of female veterinary students (at university level) enrolled for the academic year 1971-72, by country

world animal review 48

ty members and ensuring their partic-
ipation; employing women trained in
livestock care to undertake baseline
surveys of the social organization of
animal production may help to ensure
that the design of a particular project
is appropriate; employing women in
the centres of project planning should
help to ensure that project plans take
ihto account women's actual or poten-
tial roles right from the beginning.
Much of this work is essentially desk
work not requiring physical strength -
but a qualification in animal husband-
ry or veterinary science, which few
women possess, will put the applicants
for these posts at an advantage in
relation to candidates without such
qualifications. Thus it is that of ap-
proximately 120 FAO animal health
experts and associate experts working
in developing countries in 1981, only
four were women; and that in the
Animal Production and Health Divi-
sion of FAO (which covers work on
animal production, animal health and
meat and milk technologies), only one
of 40 professional staff is a woman
and she is an animal nutritionist. An
additional problem arises from the
fact that the international organiza-
tions do not normally employ close

kin, husbands or wives of staff mem-
bers: qualified women accompanying
husbands posted abroad suffer par-
ticularly from this rule, since it is
often extremely difficult for them as
foreigners with foreign qualifications
to find work in the countries to which
their husbands happen to be posted,
often temporarily (Rogers, 1980).
Until the means are created for more
women to be recruited at the profes-
sional level into the international
organizations or trained and promoted
to that level, it should not surprise
anyone if projects continue to take
little account of the actual and poten-
tial role of women in the development
of animal husbandry.


The gap between the role of women
in animal husbandry as practised in
actual life and as reflected in develop-
ment plans has been explained by the
fact that development plans tend to
take for granted that the division of
labour by sex should follow the pat-
tern prevailing in industrial societies,
namely a lack of participation by
women, especially at the managerial
level. This occurs even when the

project is being implemented in a
community in which women play an
important part in animal production,
and may lead to situations where men
are approached by development agen-
cies for recruitment in activities such
as poultry farming for which they
have little enthusiasm or motivation.
There is no general solution to the
problem. On the contrary, it is neces-
sary to draw attention to the differ-
ences between societies and to the fact
that there may very well be different
solutions with respect to each society.
If projects were to be tailor-made to
the societies for which they were in-
tended, it is likely that there would
be a better understanding of and more
cooperation from the project benefi-
ciaries, and that the results of projects
would be more satisfactory.
Greater and more determined efforts
to encourage women to train as ani-
mal husbandry specialists and as
veterinarians are considered to be
one of the most effective ways of
enabling women to contribute to the
planning and implementation of ani-
mal husbandry, production and health
projects. Such projects would then
be more likely to meet the needs of
all sections of the community. 0


1981. Women and pastoral development:
some research priorities for the social sci-
ences. In The future of pastoral peoples,
eds J.G. Galaty, D. Aronson and P.C.
Salzman. Proc. Conf. in Nairobi, Kenya,
4-8 August 1980. Canada, Ottawa, Inter-
national Development Research Centre.

CROLL, E. 1979. Women in rural devel-
opment The People's Republic of
China. Geneva, ILO.

DUPIRE, M. 1960. Situation de la femme
dans une soci6t6 pastorale. In Femmes
d'Afrique noire, ed. D. Paulme. The
Hague, Mouton.

FAO. 1981. Working paper. Meat and
Dairy Service, AGA.

FAO. 1982. Working paper. Fellowships
Group, AGO.

FAO. 1983. Working paper. The role
of women in animal production projects.
FAO/WHO. 1973. World directory of
veterinary schools, 1971.

MARSDEN, A.W. 1972. Dairy training for
rural women. Wid Anim. Rev., 1: 30-36.

MOHAN, P.C. 1981. Of the women, by
the women, for everybody: a goat proj-
ect in Kenya. Ideas and Action, 144,
6: 18-21. Rome, FAO.

NELSON, N. 1981. Mobilising village
women: some organisational and man-
agement considerations. Special issue
on African women in the development
process. J. Dev. Studies, 17, 3: 47-58.
NOBLE, A.L. & NOLAN, M.F. 1982. Wom-
en and goats in Western Kenya: dilemma
for development. Proc. Third Int. Conf.

Goat Prod. and Dis., Coll. Agric., Univ.
Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA, p. 197-
200. 10-15 Jan. 1982.
OXBY, C. 1978. Sexual division and slav-
ery in a Tuareg community. Univ.
London. (Thesis)
OxBY, C. 1982. The integration of women
in FAO animal production project de-
sign. Report prepared for FAO.
REUSSE, E. 1982. Somalia's nomadic live-
stock economy. Wld Anim. Rev., 43:
RoGERS, B. 1980. The domestication of
women: discrimination in developing
societies. London and New York, Tavi-
stock Publications.
SOMJEE, A.H. & SOMJEE, G. 1976. Man-
agerial shift: Indian women acquire a
new role in dairying. WId Anim. Rev.,
18: 28-33.

september-october 1983

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