Front Cover
 Title Page
 Back Cover

Title: Executive summary of gender issues in farming systems research and extension
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00089842/00001
 Material Information
Title: Executive summary of gender issues in farming systems research and extension a survey of current projects
Series Title: Executive summary of gender issues in farming systems research and extension
Physical Description: 6 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Poats, Susan V
Gearing, J
Russo, S
Horwith, Bruce
Publisher: Tropical Research and Development, Inc.
Tropical Research and Development, Inc.
Place of Publication: Gainesville Florida
Publication Date: 1989
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by S. Poats, J. Gearing, and S. Russo ; prepared by Bruce Horwith.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00089842
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 - 39881515

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Back Cover
        Page 7
Full Text





S. Poats, J. Gearing, and S. Russo

Prepared by Bruce Horwith
Office of Women in Development
Agency for International Development

August 1989



This report presents an analysis of the
mechanisms that have led to either successes
or failures in integrating gender analysis and
issues into a selected group of agricultural
research and extension projects that are using
the Farming Systems Research and Extension
(FSR/E) approach. The study took advantage
of the explicit attention given to gender in the

1988 Annual FSR/E Symposium held at the
University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Based on
this analysis, the report presents a set of
findings and recommendations for more
effective integration of gender issues into
agricultural development.

The Significance of WID and Gender Issues
to Farming Systems Research and Extension

Farming Systems Research and Extension, or
FSR/E, is an approach used in agricultural
research and development to generate
appropriate technology. The approach
potentially offers an excellent mechanism for
identifying and addressing the agricultural
problems of farmers, both male and female.

While there are excellent examples of social
science research on agriculture prior to FSR/E,
the FSR/E approach changed the relationship
between social science and agriculture in the
following important ways:

* FSR/E encouraged expansion of social
science involvement from a narrow group of
agricultural economists to a broader range
of social science disciplines, including
anthropology and sociology;

* FSR/E enabled social scientists to work as
members of interdisciplinary teams in the
actual development of technology;

* The development of institutional structures
to contain FSR/E in research or extension
institutions at last provided a secure home
base for the social sciences in agriculture
(Bingen and Poats 1988).

Initially, FSR/E practitioners used the household
as the central unit to analyze management and
decision making by farmers. While the focus on
the household was part of a long-needed
recognition of the rationality of low-resource
farmers, it obscured differences among
individuals within the household. Borrowing
household models proposed by economists,
practitioners assumed that "the farm household"
functioned as a single unit of production and
consumption. It was further assumed that
consensus among household members existed
on the allocation of resources and benefits, and
that all household members' interests and
problems were identical (Cloud 1988).

In recent years, these beliefs and assumptions
about farm households have radically shifted, in
part because of the growing body of empirical
research on women in development (WID). WID
researchers focused on women's importance as
household producers and providers in addition
to their domestic roles. Women emerged as
active producers whose potential contributions
were often overlooked or undermined by
development projects (Poats et al. 1988). By
recognizing differences between men's and
women's roles in production, the assumed
homogeneity of the farm household was

replaced by the concept of "intra-household
dynamics." It is now widely recognized that
intra-household relationships are as diverse and
dynamic as the relationships between house-
holds. Individuals within a household may
share some interests, have separate interests,
and at times have opposing interests (Feldstein
et al. 1987, Cloud 1988).

Technology that will help one farmer in a
household may actually hurt other farmers
within the same household. The recognition
that these diverse and complex relationships
among members of households must be
considered in the design, testing, and evaluation

of new technology has stimulated exciting and
innovative methodological developments in

The growing WID field has provided new tools
to allow researchers and development workers
to identify relevant information on who performs
which activities, who makes which decisions
about the allocation and control of resources,
what are the incentives and disincentives that
influence which women and men are included
(or not included) in development activities, and
who benefits from proposed interventions
(Feldstein et al. 1987, Overholt et al. 1985).

Uncertainty About Gender, Gender Analysis,
and Gender Issues

Uncertainty exists about the use of the term
gender, the process of gender analysis, and
what the incorporation of gender issues into a
project implies. Practitioners often confuse the
use of gender as a socioeconomic variable to
analyze the farming system and disaggregate
data, with the equity issue of including women,
both as project personnel and as target groups
for development projects. While analysis of this
socioeconomic variable gender analysis -
may indicate a need to include women as target
groups or hire women on project teams, doing
gender analysis and incorporating the results
into project design and implementation has far
broader consequences. The addition of women
to teams or target groups may not be sufficient
if the intervention is inappropriate to women's
responsibilities within the farming system or if
their access and control over resources is not
understood. Effective gender analysis expands
our understanding of the farming system in its
entirety to include an awareness of how all the
activities of all members of the farm household
are interrelated and impacted by development-

induced change. Specific recommendations
based on gender analysis will vary from farming
system to farming system and broad
generalizations such as "hire more women" or
"target women farmers" cannot be automatically
transferred from project to project.

Gender is a socioeconomic variable
that can be used to analyze the
farming system and disaggregate
data. Gender analysis applied to
agricultural research and extension
asks the key questions who does
what; who has access and control of
resources needed for production, who
will benefit from proposed Interven-
tions; who should be included In the
process of technology improvement.


Gender analysis is the most effective tool to
open up the farm household and to begin to
understand the behavior of its members.
Disaggregation of information must be done to
understand the choices open to the farm
household. Disaggregation is not limited to
gender sometimes it may have to go further to
include age, class, caste, race, ethnicity but
the most effective category to start with is

Gender analysis should not be something done
strictly as part of the initial diagnosis or
socioeconomic assessment. Used in this
limited way, the findings of the gender analysis
- gender issues are not effectively translated
into recommendations to modify other aspects
of the project, such as on-farm trials, evaluation,
and dissemination. Too often, gender analysis
has been perceived as being the sole respon-
sibility of the social scientist on the team, or
the female team members, rather than the entire
team. It is important that team members see
the relevance of gender issues to their own

Obstacles to gender analysis lie largely within
project teams and less in resistance from
farmers. Effective inclusion of gender issues
into development projects requires overcoming
cultural attitudes emanating from at least four
different "cultural" sources: the culture of the
professional discipline, the culture of the
development project/agency, the native
cultures) of the project team members, and the
cultures) of the target groupss. All too often in
development work, the cultures) of develop-
ment project teams go unexamined, and the
cultures) of target groups are treated only as
obstacles to be overcome to successfully
transfer technology. In many cases, gender
analysis is a new tool being introduced to the

development team at the same time the team is
attempting to introduce new technology to a
target group. There are several reasons why
the introduction of gender analysis may provoke
resistance from team members:

* It places team members in the role of
"ignorant" recipients, rather than
"expert" donors;

* It challenges team members'
perceptions about their roles within
project teams and their research

* It questions basic constructs that team
members have about gender and
appropriate roles.

Despite uncertainty about gender analysis and
resistance to its implementation, gender analysis
is an effective and useful tool to projects that do
it interventions are more appropriate and
more accurately targeted, research is more
efficient, and transfer of technology is easier
and better received by target groups. Gender
analysis thus makes project personnel' jobs
easier and projects more effective.

Findings and Recommendations

1. Gender analysis is an important tool for
improving the effectiveness and efficiency
of projects.

2. Gender analysis should be an on-going
process whose findings are continually
being applied to all stages of development

3. Gender analysis should be the respon-
sibility of all project team members
although for practical considerations, a
single team member should be in charge of
gender analysis activities. While there was
a correlation between having women
and/or social scientists on the teams and
whether or not gender analysis was
conducted, their presence did not
guarantee attention to gender issues.
Additionally, there were some teams with
no women or social scientists who did
conduct gender analysis and include
gender issues. The key was training.

4. Training on gender analysis and gender
issues works and should be incorporated
into more projects. It is the single most
important factor responsible for inclusion of
gender issues into project activities.
Training should address the importance of
gender analysis, sources of resistance to
the inclusion of gender issues into
development projects, methods of doing
gender analysis and methods of converting
gender analysis findings into project-
specific recommendations or modifications.
Training should consist not only of formal
programs but also informal efforts that
continue throughout the project.

5. Formal training in gender issues should be
implemented before projects begin and be
directed at the entire project team and host
country counterparts, if possible. Training

focus often has been only on participant
training in degree programs or on short
courses delivered by external experts. This
focus must shift if gender analysis is to
become truly a part of the established
development process.

6. Informal training in gender issues should
continue throughout the duration of
projects and should involve all members of
the project team. This informal training
should be directed at adapting gender
analysis findings to the needs of all project
members and all project stages. An
effective type of informal training is group
data analysis and discussion meetings in
which the entire team brainstorms
strategies based on shared gender analysis

7. Donor agencies, international agricultural
research centers, and national agricultural
research universities and institutions should
have staff available to backstop efforts by
projects to integrate gender issues and to
troubleshoot on gender and WID problems.
They could maintain a database of
successful training approaches, field
methodologies for gender analysis, and
strategies for the implementation of gender
analysis findings to projects. This would
advance our methodological knowledge
and keep both trainers and projects from
having to "reinvent the gender issues

8. Techniques for gender analysis could be
improved by practitioners making a greater
effort to share their experiences. Increased
attention must be paid not only to methods
for doing gender analysis but to strategies
for applying gender issue findings to all
stages of projects.


Bingen, R. James and Susan V. Poats. 1988. The Development and Management of Human Resources
in On-Farm Client-Oriented Research (OFCOR): Lessons From Nine Case Studies. ISNAR Draft
Working Paper.

Cloud, Kathleen. 1988. A Teaching Module on Women and Agriculture: Household Level Analysis.
University of Illinois: International Workshop on Women, Households and Development: Building a
Database. Manuscript.

Feldstein, Hilary, Susan Poats, Kathleen Cloud, and Rosalie Norem. 1987. Intra-Household Dynamics and
Farming Systems Research and Extension Conceptual Framework. Population Council, New York.

Overholt, Catherine, Mary Anderson, Kathleen Cloud, and James Austin. 1985. Gender Roles in
Development Projects. West Hartford: Kumarian Press.

Poats, Susan V., Marianne Schmink, and Anita Spring, eds. 1988. Gender Issues and Farming Systems
Research and Extension. Boulder: Westview Press.

1The full report, Gender Issues in Farming Systems Research & Extension: A Survey of Current
Projects, is divided into five sections with appendices. Section 1 introduces the overall goals
and objectives of the study, provides the background on why the study was initiated, and
defines the audience for the results. Section 2 addresses the question "Why consider gender
issues in FSR/E?" and describes the history and current status of women in development
(WID), gender issues, and FSR/E. Section 3 describes the research methodology used in
developing and distributing the questionnaire, analyzing the results, and interpreting the
findings. Section 4 presents the survey findings and the analysis and interpretation of the
results. These are then summarized as conclusions in Section 5 and a series of
recommendations are presented for project managers, researchers, and development workers.
A bibliography and several appendices with the survey questionnaire and description of the
survey sample complete the report. Requests for copies of the full report should be directed

Tropical Research and Development, Inc.
519 N.W. 60th Street, Suite D
Gainesville, Florida 32607
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