Gender Issues in Small-scale Dairying
There is an increasing awareness of the important and long-standing traditional role of women in small-scale dairying all over the world. Dairying provides women with a regular daily income, vital to household food security and family well-being. Women are not only centrally involved in milk production, but also in collection, processing and marketing of dairy products, roles which were often overlooked by development programmes. In the past projects and programmes were directed towards men and changes introduced frequently resulted in higher labour input by women, while at the same time their control over the production process and its output diminished.
During the last decades, the gender issue has attracted the attention of many researchers, government agencies and development agencies and gender differences are now more often taken into account at the design stage. For small farmers, dairy production is a family operation where each member contributes to, and benefits from, the different activities involved in different ways.
FAO promotes and making every effort to take into consideration the different roles and activities undertaken by women and men in all the aspects of the dairy chain. This approach is reflected in many field projects where women are the main stakeholders and where women's groups are involved in enhancing capacity building and decision making power, as well as self-confidence. Good examples of gender balanced projects are given in the related links.