Did you know that rural women are still workers for men?

“Rural women play a key role in supporting their households and communities in achieving food and nutrition security, generating income and improving rural livelihoods and overall well- being” (Rural women and the millennium development goals).  However, rural women in developing countries  are relegated to labour intensive activities, are given little  access to resources , are not involved in the decision making process  but their income, the income they generate,  goes into men’s pocket.   Evidence shows that if  women had access to the same productive resources  as  men  women could:

raise the total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5 to 4%
reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12 to 17%
increase the yields on their farms by 20 to 30% .

This means that by addressing gender inequalities, women could  play a crucial role in reducing   poverty and paving the way towards IFAD commitment to lift 80 million rural people out of poverty by 2015.  But how can we support  rural women  and help them to overcome  those persistent social and structural constraints ? How can IFAD projects  better address gender inequalities? We have a new policy that places gender equality and women’s empowerment at the heart of our ambitious  strategic plans for reducing poverty   and this week is the gender training week;  a golden opportunity for  IFAD and FAO colleagues to work together on case studies using  innovative approaches and  participatory tools.

The training  is  divided in modular sessions  on gender in key thematic areas and you can join one or more sessions . Yesterday we  focused on targeting and gender strategy ,  gender and poverty reduction issues and  gender along the value chain and we learned that:
gender division of labour along the value chain is not equal
women tend to trade on local market while men tend to trade on a larger scale
women  grow crops, men sell
women engagement in marketing is confined to small volumes  while men dominate the large volumes
once the volume to be marketed becomes sizable, the activity becomes male-dominated
gender equality requires a cultural change of both men and women
gender balance does not mean that  there is no space for men, gender balance is about  equal gender division of labour along the value chain and equal opportunities.
gender inequalities can be addressed  by strengthening the role of women
gender inequalities can be addressed by engaging men. Watch the video “'Mapping the road to change, action learning for gender justice in Western Uganda' ” .  Men  can change!

The training is still on, join one of the coming session and contribute to the discussion.