Gender sensitive research enhances agricultural employment in conservative societies: The case of women livelihoods and dairy goat programme in Afghanistan and Pakistan (2009)

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Gender roles in agricultural activities in the developing world where agriculture accounts for up to 80% of employment, are still not fully documented and recognized. This information gap affects the success of any development interventions targeting beneficiaries whose livelihoods depend on agriculture. This paper reports results from participatory gender-sensitive research undertaken in Afghanistan and Pakistan where a different approach had to be used to unravel gender roles in agricultural activities in conservative societies. It further explains how this information was used to inform the implementation of research and development activities in the communities leading to enhanced agricultural employment. Results indicate that in general, females have greater involvement in livestock-related activities compared to males in the two countries. Males on the other hand are more involved in crop-related activities than females. In terms of access to and control over the agriculture-derived incomes and decision-making, males have more access and control over these incomes and resources though with greater variation between and within the two countries. The cultural norms in the conservative societies of the two countries, particularly in Afghanistan, do not allow women to move out of their home without their guardian, limiting hired agricultural jobs for women. This is particularly important as more women-headed households are landless with severe resource poverty. Research and development interventions that target this vulnerable group of the society therefore should consider the variations. The current project, funded by IFAD, has demonstrated that village women can be organized into effective women groups. Such interventions would increase women’s access to markets and improved production technologies, and allow the production of nutritious food to their families and generating income on a sustainable basis.
Language: English
Imprint: Gender: Pathways out of poverty - rural employment. Paper presented at the FAO-IFAD-ILO Workshop on Gaps, trends and current research in gender dimensions of agricultural and rural employment: differentiated pathways out of poverty Rome, 31 March - 2 April 2009. 2009
Series: Report,