Part II: Annexes
by Mr. A.Z.M. Obaidullah Khan, assistant director-general and FAO regional representative
FAO Regional Expert Consultation on Gender Issues in Agricultural and Rural Development Policy in Asia and the Pacific 1-5 November, 1993
Madam Chairperson, esteemed experts and observers to the Regional Expert Consultation on Gender Issues in Agricultural and Rural Development Policy in Asia and the Pacific, colleagues and friends - welcome to Bangkok and to our Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.
You have come here at our invitation in your personal capacity to share with us your knowledge and experience in dealing with the current issues of gender. When we talk of gender, our minds immediately go to women, because we know that women have been the main victims of gender biases and discrimination in development. Specifically, we are interested in the gender issues which could or should be addressed by policy interventions, because we now see that neglect of policy is neglect of potentially powerful and far-reaching strategic interventions which can do more than a million little woman-oriented projects to mainstream rural women.
Women have had almost two decades since the International Women's Year in 1975 to integrate into development, but it has not happened yet. Rural women are lagging behind men, and are plunging into poverty faster than their male counterparts. Women are perhaps, however, learning from men, when they choose words like Forward-looking Strategies as their title for the report of the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Decade for Women. Strategy is a military term, and women are increasingly seeing patriarchy as an institution not to be won over, but to be torn down, dismantled and the rubble to be burned. It is less clear what they have in mind to replace that institution, but certainly most of us men are not going to surrender our current privileges without a fight.
However, we also know that the boundaries of the battlefield are not absolute, and that a battlefield can also be used as a negotiating arena. We have conceded to women on many issues - land tenure for one, and access to rural services such as agricultural credit - but we have not done it with much enthusiasm. The legislation we have put in place to ensure more gender equity has not generally been supported by a facilitating environment, in which women feel welcome and equally competent. Far from it, we see now that rural women have been unable to close the gap with rural men, by most social and economic indicators. In fact, rural women now comprise 60 percent of the absolutely poor and destitute in rural areas, and IFAD predicts this proportion will increase to 65-70 percent by the year 2000. We can take no pride in such a damning trend.
Now we look to policy instruments to help redress the imbalances, and we look to you to help us. The Secretariat has provided four papers for your consideration. You, yourselves, will each provide information on policy instruments and gender in your own country, and measures you have found successful. In FAO's Plan of Action for Women in Agriculture, one of the eight priority areas is "Policy Advice to Member Governments." We want to play a catalytic role in pooling and sharing such information. That is why you have been invited here, and we have high hopes for a dynamic debate, with concrete recommendations for follow-up on the part both of member Governments and FAO itself.
Thank you for coming, and good luck with your deliberations.
Gender Issues in Agricultural and Rural Development Policy in Asia and the Pacific
Gender Issues in Macro-economic Policy Planning for Agricultural and Rural Development: the Imperative for the 21st Century
Gender Issues in Agricultural and Rural Development
Community Forestry, NGOs, Women and the Poor: Some Observations from the Field
Country Statement - Bhutan
Country Statement - China
Country Statement - India
Country Statement - India
Country Statement - Malaysia
Country Statement - Pakistan
Country Statement - The Philippines
Country Statement - Western Samoa, South Pacific
Country Statement - Sri Lanka
Country Statement - Thailand
Regional Expert Consultation on Gender Issues in Agricultural and Rural Development Policy
Monday, 1 November
Opening of the Consultation by Mr. A.Z.M. Obaidullah Khan, Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative Keynote Address: Gender Issues in Agricultural Policy Discussion of issues and provisional recommendations
Tuesday, 2 November
Country Statements (20 minutes each)
Wednesday, 3 November
Gender Issues in Macro-economic Policy
Discussion of issues and provisional recommendations
The Impact of Agricultural and Rural Development Policy on Women Farmers
Discussion of issues and provisional recommendations
Gender Issues in Forest Policy
Discussion of issues and provisional recommendations
Preparation for group work
Thursday, 4 November
Group work: review of issues and proposal of formal recommendations
Group work continues
Presentation of group recommendations to Plenary
Discussion and finalisation
Rapporteurs and drafting committee to consolidate findings and recommendations
Friday, 5 November
Consideration of Draft Report
Adoption of Report
Closing of Consultation
Regional Expert Consultation on Gender Issues in Agricultural Policy
Bangkok, Thailand, 1 to 5 November, 1993
Ms. Phuntshok C. Tshering
Planning and Policy Division
Ministry of Agriculture, Thimphu
Tel. (00975) 23782
Fax. (00975) 23153
Mr. He Yupeng
Research Centre for Rural Economy (RCRE)
Ministry of Agriculture
No. 9 Xihuangchenggen Nanjie
Tel. (86-1) 601 8186
Fax. (86-1) 602 0563
Mr. Krishnamurthy Rajan
(Agriculture, Environment and Forests, State Plans)
Planning Commission, Room No. 202
Yojana Bhavan, Sansad Marg,
New Delhi - 110 001
Tel. (91-11) 371 5219
Fax. (91-11) 371 7681
Dr. Sarala Gopalan
C II/97, Moti Bagh
New Delhi- 110 021
Tel. (91 - 11) 371 9082
Fax. (91-11) 371 7681
Ms. Noriah bt. Abdul Wahab
Farm Family Development Section
Farmers Development Branch
Department of Agriculture
Ministry of Agriculture
Kuala Lumpur 50632
Tel. (03) 298 2011
Fax. (03) 298 5746
Telex MA 33045
Ms. Khawar Mumtaz
Shirkat Gah Lahore
38/8 Sarwar Road
Tel. (92-42) 380 969, 666 1874
Fax. (92-42) 874 914, 373 831, 636 3393
Dr. Piedad Geron
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)
Amber Avenue, Pasig
Tel. (63-2)631 3745
Fax. (63-2) 631 3714
Telex NED PH 29058
Mr. Elaiyappah Kanendran
Department of National Planning
Room No. 168, 1st Floor
Ministry of Policy Planning and Implementation
Tel. (94- 1) 29623
Fax. (94-1) 448 063
Telex FIN MIN-CE 21409
Mr. Thitirong Rungrawd
Research and Agricultural Extension System Sub-Division
Department of Agricultural Extension
Ministry of Agriculture
Phaholyothin Road, Chatuchak
Tel. (66-2) 579 3940, 579 0121-8
Fax. (66-2) 579 3727, 579 3011
Dr. Gautam N. Yadama
Campus Box 1196
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, Missouri 63130
Tel. (314) 935 5698
Fax. (314) 935 8511
Dr. Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop
Senior Lecturer, Ag Ed/Ext
University of the South Pacific School of Agriculture
Private Bag Apia
Tel. (085) 21671
Fax. (085) 22933
Ms. Wang Yunxian
Interdisciplinary Studies in Gender and Development
Asian Institute of Technology
G.P.O. Box 2754
Bangkok 10501, Thailand
Tel. (66-2) 524 5671
Fax. (66-2) 516 2126
Dr. Rita Gebert
Thai-German Highland Development Programme
P.O. Box 67
Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand
Tel. (66-53) 211 813, 211 796-7
Fax. (66-53) 211 780
Regional Office Asia and the Pacific
39 Maliwan Mansion
Phra Atit Road
Tel. (66-2) 281 7844
Fax (66-2) 280 0445
Mr. A.Z.M. Obaidullah Khan Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific
Ms. Alexandra Stephens Regional Sociologist and Women in Development Officer
Dr. Marie Randriamamonjy Senior Officer (Women in Development) FAO Headquarters
Dr. H.M. Carandang Regional Planning Economist
Ms. Pawadee Chok-oon-kit Secretary
Bhutan has a population of 600,000, of which 49 percent are women. Ninety percent of the population work in and depend on agriculture and animal husbandry for their livelihood. Bhutan started its first Five-Year Development Plan in 1961. The Seventh Plan began in 1992. The main objectives of this plan are to accomplish:
· self reliance and household food security
· a sustainable rise in the living standard of farmers
· people's participation and decentralization
· efficiency and development of the private sector
· human resources development
· a regionally-balanced development
None of the objectives are gender-specific nor gender-discriminatory. But the human resources development policy does recognize that for balanced and successful development women must be involved in the development process.
The Role of Bhutanese Women
Bhutan is no different from the rest of world. It, too, is a male-dominated nation. As elsewhere in South Asia, officially there are no governing norms in our society which bar or restrict women from doing the same as their male counterparts. Unfortunately, almost all the existing data and information on the traditional and socio-economic status of women are not gender-disaggregated. Legally and socially Bhutanese women enjoy equal status in all spheres of life. There has been no evidence of any form of gender discrimination against women in access to health, education, nutrition and other productive resources. Bhutanese women have multiple roles in all households. That they are overburdened with all sorts of domestic chores, however, cannot be seriously debated. In Bhutan the productive and reproductive roles fulfilled by women are deeply appreciated and valued by our men. Even in agriculture, the role played by women is highly "visible," compared to elsewhere in the Region.
Access to and control of land. The role of women is not the same in all parts of Bhutan. It is strongly influenced by our social, cultural and religious customs, but varies from one ethnic group to the other and from one part of the country to another. Matrilineal systems of inheritance of land and property are predominant in some areas, while patrilineal systems predominate in the South. Among matrilineal families, women play a central role in decision making. Their sisters in the patrilineal system do not exercise the same powers.
Access to agricultural inputs, including credit, extension services, information, education, technology, and water, are limited for Bhutanese women due to low literacy rates. Women in theory have equal opportunities, but lack of education and mobility hold them back. Extension agents are predominantly male and methodologies are not gender-sensitive. Farmer training is not women-friendly in either timing (inconvenient), location (too far from home) or duration (too long, not practical).
Farm mechanization is not widespread in Bhutan. While innovations help save women's time and labour, there is a danger of displacing or depriving women of the very work in which they take pride. Socio-economic studies should, therefore, be conducted and analyzed before such interventions are launched.
Bhutanese women receive less pay for the same work in both the agricultural and nonagricultural sectors. In the formal sectors, men and women are paid equally.
Successful Policy Interventions:
· The establishment of the National Women's Association of Bhutan in 1985 was a landmark that heralded the beginning of gender sensitiveness and promoted the first studies focussed on women, their status, lives and concerns.
· The introduction of community schools and extended classrooms in villages, fostering the enrollment of girls in schools, has steadily increased.
· Non-formal literacy programmes are now actively attended by women-farmers. This enables women to gain a better understanding of health and hygiene and other important family and community concerns.
· Recent donor-assisted projects have women's specific needs built into the project design. Farmer training, in one-day "field days," are currently being organized to enable more women to participate.
· Data and information are increasingly disaggregated by gender.
Bhutanese society is fairly equitable. Both men and women have equally important roles to play in agriculture and other development work. Women's contribution to the household, community and nation building is highly appreciated and also quite "visible." With policy makers becoming more sensitive to gender, the future of Bhutanese women is expected to get steadily better.
The rural reform initiated in China in the late 1970s decentralized collective farm management and promoted farmers' incentives for agricultural production. The following decade witnessed a dramatic increase in agricultural production and in farmers' income, as well as major structural change in the rural economy. Regional disparity, however, has now become a serious problem. Farmers throughout the country, of course, benefitted from the economic reforms, but those in coastal areas took more advantage of the structural changes that are characterized by a sharp growth of rural industry. The farmers' situation, therefore, and especially that of rural women engaged in agriculture - mainly grain production - in the inland regions, will continue to get worse unless agricultural policies are adjusted more favorably for these inland rural people.
A coordinating socio-economic development policy should take all related factors into consideration, especially its cultural influence. It is well known, for instance, that China's family planning programme has been very successful in controlling the country's population growth. But as a consequence of that policy, the unbalanced sex ratio has become a serious problem troubling policy makers. It is suggested that through education and an appropriate mix of other policies and institutions that influence the number of children a family desires, the strong preference for sons will be reduced and the population growth rate will remain consistent with sustainable improvement in per capita rural income. Two ways to reduce both the preference for sons and the actual number of children born would be to permit farmers to hold long-term land users' rights. At the same time, land distribution should not be adjusted with the increased/reduced heads per household. Creating a social security system for farmers, to support them especially when they are aged, is also needed. Other alternatives include favorable adjustment of policies for rural women, for example, more opportunities in rural industry at the communal level, more and better free education, and so on.
The Indian Constitution, apart from guaranteeing fundamental rights to all its citizens, both men and women, has also enunciated a set of "Principles of State Policy" which broadly describe how the State is expected to function. Specific measures to achieve equality among both men and women are clearly brought out. Social-economic development has, over the years, addressed itself to gender issues, particularly equal pay for equal work, and how to prevent forcing women into unsuitable vocations through economic necessity, thus providing vertical mobility to enable everyone to rise in economic and social status.
Several in-depth studies have been carried out by Commissions appointed by the Government of India to review the status of women from time to time, along with action plans, culminating in 1988 in the adoption of the National Perspective Plan for Women. This Plan, based on the position of women and the constraints they face, charts out the action required of the Central (Union) and State Governments in particular, and all others concerned in general. In a detailed manner the Plan concentrates on rural women and stresses that policy must aim at bringing women into the mainstream of the national economy. Women should not be seen as recipients of welfare, but as critical economic participants. Accordingly, they should be assisted in contributing to the overall development of Indian society.
Many central organizations are now perfecting methodologies to develop information and data on a gender-differentiated basis. The latest national survey on employment, conducted by the National Sample Survey Organization in 1987-88, has revealed several important facts about the gender issue.
In recent years, in the broad agricultural and rural development sector - where the largest proportion of women are employed, whether in economically-visible work or not - there has been a greater consciousness of gender issues. Research in agricultural science and technology is now focussed on improving economic efficiency while removing the drudgery associated with much of the work that women do in agriculture, and on generating technology to enable women to improve their incomes. Agricultural extension services are being reoriented to ensure women's access to technology and information. Several initiatives have been launched and a country-wide programme is planned. In this regard, the present agricultural policy, which essentially focusses on farmers rather than on commodities, makes it easier to address gender issue in agriculture.
It has been recognized that without the empowerment of women, especially in the decision-making process at the lower levels, much of what we wish to achieve will not be easy. Our recently passed Constitutional Amendment Act, which gives Constitutional backing to local self-governing institutions, has specific provisions for helping women. A statutory National Commission for Women has also been established. It has a broad mandate and the authority to oversee measures and to recommend to India's State Governments what further course of action needs to be initiated in different areas.
The Mobilization and Organization of Women may be a key element in making programmes efficacious. Several issues are relevant here: group or individual approach, constitution and composition of groups, whether development plans should seek to assist women in the household or promote self-employment outside, the role of the NGOs and what kind of interactions should exist between Government and NGOs in promoting women's development. Perhaps at this stage governmental action may be essential to complement and supplement the NGOs working to end the isolation of women from the mainstream national economy and assist them to play the role due to them through training and the removal of socio-cultural-economic barriers.
An overdue development was that the definition of the term "work" was modified for India's 1991 Census. It now includes household production that goes to market, by persons involved in home processing. Consequently this includes a lot of women whose work goes unpaid. The 1991 Census recorded the work participation rate for women at 27 percent as against only 23 percent in 1981.
Despite this change in definition and the increase in the work participation rate, it was felt the Census did not capture the whole truth. Many women who work at home, for example, were ashamed of admitting their work as it impinges on their social status. Further, the investigators were not sensitized enough to correctly estimate such work participation.
Women predominated in the Census as "marginal workers," forming 85.4 percent of all those recorded. This large proportion of marginal workers is a sign of greater impoverishment rather than empowerment, given the social milieu in the country.
Another relatively recent phenomenon is the decline in the participation of women in agriculture. Within the agricultural sector, a slight shift in categories is notable an increase in the number of women cultivators, but a decrease in the number of women workers. The increase in the first category does not match the decrease in the second category.
During the first phase of technological change in the country's agricultural sector, employment in agriculture increased, particularly for women with the introduction of high-yielding varieties. In the present phase of mechanization, the number of jobs are being reduced and women workers replaced. The introduction of modern technology has brought mixed blessings - some are labour-increasing, others are labour-saving. In some cases, for example, the mechanization of a particular operation opens up more employment opportunities in subsequent operations, while in others it results in displacing labour.
Technology, seemingly gender-neutral, did not address women's requirements - that technology suit women. Anthropometric factors need to be taken into account in research and development and technology that is women-friendly needs to be more strongly emphasized.
The Constitution of India gives equal status to men and women. There is also the Equal Remuneration Act, which legislates equal wages for equal work. Often women's work is not treated on par with work done by men. This is very significant in the fixing of minimum wages. The minimum wages fixed for work done by women are habitually "fixed" lower.
Employment in agriculture calls for a great deal of diversification into off farm activities and post harvest operations. Post harvest operations need much more attention.
A number of Poverty Alleviation Programmes, comprising both self-employment and wage employment programmes, are in operation in India. A specific target of these programmes is to benefit women.
Women's access to various forms of infrastructure, including credit, is still poor. Various efforts to increase women's access to credit are now being made, including those by NGOs, and the Government has recently launched the "Indira Mahila Kosh" to fund NGOs fostering women's banking.
Women need greater access to skills development, including the management skills needed to set up better enterprises.
Malaysia is a multiracial, multilingual and multireligious nation, with a population of 18.61 million people. Until 1970, Malaysia's economy was dominated by agriculture. Despite the shift of the economy towards industrialization over the last two decades, agriculture still plays an important role in Malaysia, in providing for both the country's own consumption, as well as contributing to export earnings. Women in the agricultural sector continue to play a significant role in bringing about development in the rural areas.
Earlier policies, after independence in 1957, were concerned with agricultural and rural development and targeted specifically at economic expansion through land development schemes and resettlement of the rural population. The focus was on the development of infrastructure, the improvement of education and health, and community development. Later policies also focused on economic expansion. Problems arising from rapid population growth resulted in more attention being given also to the areas of family planning, child care, preschool education, youth and women in economic development, and on factors influencing the quality of life.
The Government's recognition of the role played by rural women in agriculture is clearly seen in later policies, particularly from the Third Malaysia Plan (1976-1980) onwards to the Sixth Malaysia Plan (1991-1995), which is being implemented now. The formulation of the National Policy for Women (NPW) in 1989 and the Sixth Malaysia Plan (RM.6), which accorded one whole chapter to women in development, perhaps constitutes the highest point of recognition given to women so far. It is part of the attempt to mainstream women into the development process.
Besides the Five-Year Development Plans, the National Agriculture Policy (NAP), launched in 1984, was also directed at women. The Policy, for example, mentions the need to emphasize downstream activities, mainly food processing and preservation - both handled primarily by women. Undoubtedly, the NAP, the NPW and RM.6 have made an impact on the tremendous development of the agricultural sector, particularly in enhancing the economic participation and contribution of farm women in the rural economy. Now, processed and preserved food constitute as much, if indeed not more, to the rural income as does the fresh produce of the farm women. This hardly existed a decade ago.
Policy analysis indicates that gender bias does not actually exist. This is true, at least over the past two decades or so. What is apparent, however, is that policies drawn up at the macro level are not properly translated into directives at the sectoral level. Such planned and designed projects do not also take into consideration gender factors, mainly because of a lack of sensitivity to the gender issue itself.
A different outlook can be expected in the future, however, since gender issues are presently of concern in the country, and much is being done to heighten the awareness at all levels of officers, policy makers, planners, and implementors of both sexes, including the farmers themselves, both male and female. The special allocation given to the Secretariat of Women's Affairs (MAWA) to develop a data-base system for women during the Sixth Malaysia Plan is in itself a boost to women and forms a stepping stone towards developing more gender-sensitive programmes and activities by the agencies concerned.
The paper presented (see Part III, p.87 of this publication) referred to Pakistan, but its conclusions may be generally applicable to other countries at the same level of development and with similar historical experience.
· Women's participation in agricultural production is extensive. Women work in crop and livestock production, cottage industry and household and family maintenance. The exact nature of each activity is determined by social status, season, specific crops, region and size of holding.
· Without female input, most rural households would cease to be economically productive.
· Women's inputs are predominantly on their own holdings.
· Recognition of women's work in the agricultural/rural production process does not necessarily lead to policies directed at women. In policies for centralized systems of macro-economic management, the over-riding preoccupation is with economic growth, and policy emphasis is therefore on intensifying productivity and maximizing output. Small farmers, landless labourers, and women are very much marginal to policy makers.
· Macro/agricultural policies do not take into account their impact on women and thus often affect them negatively.
· A major drawback in policy formulation is the lack of adequate statistics. Desegregated data on women and their activities, particularly in non-farm households, is not available to planners.
To address rural women's needs a number of steps are required. The most important one is to put women into the mainstream of all policies.
It is therefore recommended that:
· Personnel at various planning and decision-making levels should be trained/oriented in understanding gender issues.
· Serious initiatives should be taken to improve statistics related to rural women. All data collected should be gender disaggregated. Methodologies to capture accurately women's activities and time-use in rural areas have been tested by FAO. The guidelines developed for data collection should be made a part of the relevant statistics-gathering mechanisms.
· In-depth qualitative studies of women's role in the agricultural sector must be undertaken so as to comprehend women's constraints, and their share and levels of participation by crop and season.
· Increased efforts must be made to include women at the policy-making and decision-making levels. These women should be provided with opportunities to upgrade their professional abilities.
· It is imperative that a women's unit or cell be created within the primary planning/policy-making body of Governments to ensure that women are included in all sectoral policies and budget allocations.
· Efforts must be made for women to participate in project identification and formulation.
· In major agricultural sector projects, an assessment of the anticipated impact on women should be made mandatory (in the same manner as environmental impact assessments).
· Special attention should be directed towards developing technology to ease women's work load. Training should be made available to women in the use of the technology that displaces them. Credit and other facilities should be set up so that women are in a position to make decisions critical to their own activities and lives.
Key Gender Issues:
Ownership of Land
While equal rights to ownership of land and equal shares of farm produce for both men and women is guaranteed by Philippine law, only a few rural women are even given land titles. Rules and regulations covering land transfer provide that ownership and cultivation of farmholdings be transferred to heirs with the following qualifications:
· fully-pledged membership in a duly organized cooperative
· capable of personally cultivating the farmholding
· willing to assume the obligations and responsibilities of a tenant-beneficiary
These qualifications tend to be biased against rural women for the following reasons: men are the usual members of cooperatives as they are able to attend meetings; and men are the usual recognized tillers of land as they are involved in land preparation. Women, on the other hand, are involved in secondary farming activities, such as harvesting, weeding, fertilizer application, and bookkeeping.
Women in the Philippines are often conceived of as invisible farmers, while men are considered the full-time and genuine tillers of the land. This is because most of the major farm operations, such as land preparation, fertilizer and insecticide application and irrigation, are done by men, while women are confined to such secondary activities as weeding and harvesting.
Access to Credit
Bias in land ownership extends to women's access to credit. Since land is normally used to meet the collateral requirement of most lending institutions, many women find it difficult to get credit from the formal sources.
Education and Training
Most rural women lack formal education, or other forms of training, which limits their horizon for other productive endeavors. Rural women have lower literacy rates than their male counterparts.
Other Support Services
Technical Assistance projects on production activities are mostly tailored for men. Most of the technology developed is designed to lighten the workload of men and not of women, for example, to ease plowing, harvesting, fertilizer application, etc., all mostly male activities.
Statistics and Data Base
To address the various gender issues at the micro-level, there is a need to disaggregate data by gender. This will enable policy makers to design policies, programmes and projects appropriate to the needs of both women and men. At present, a number of surveys conducted on a regular basis use the household as the unit of observation and, therefore, provide information on the household head only, which is, of course, usually the male.
Successful Policy/Policy Intervention
· Formulation of the Philippine Development Plan for Women (1989-1992) as a companion plan of the Medium-term Philippine Development Plan (1987-1992).
· Incorporation of Gender Concerns in the Current Medium-term Philippine Development Plan (1993-1998)
· Enactment of the Women in Development and Nation-Building Act in July 1991. As a result, the Guidelines for Incorporating Gender Concerns in the Project Development Cycle and Investment Programming were approved by the Technical Board of the Investment Coordination Committee, the body which recommends the approval of foreign-assisted programmes and projects to the Cabinet.
· Formulation of the Long-term Plan for Incorporating Gender Concerns into the Development Process. This is an on-going activity. The Plan is to provide direction as to which efforts in reducing gender inequality should be given priority.
Problem and Constraints
· dearth of gender-sensitized policy makers and programme/project developers and field staff
· lack of micro studies that would give documented empirical evidence to issues raised and the effects of macro-economic policies
The Republican Constitution of 1978 has a definite reference to gender equality in the section on fundamental rights. Fundamental rights, equality before the law and equal protection were all expressed in terms of a general guarantee against discrimination on the grounds of sex, especially as regards access to facilities. Not yet endorsed, however, are some of the subsequent legislative reforms. The amendments to the Land Settlement Ordinance of 1981, for instance, regulating land rights in the new settlements of the Mahaweli Agriculture System, discriminate against women in that in the absence of the nomination of a successor to a settlement in the areas, inheritance devolves through the male line according to primogeniture. The eldest male obtains preference over anybody else, in any given category of heirs.
Private ownership of land given by the State is in the name of the family head, always the male, thereby permitting the oppression of women's legal rights to cultivated land. Division of land, due to population pressure and too little land, only among the male children has become conspicuous. Although this has been accepted as a condition of a patriarchal society, women's rights to the land where they were employed in crop production are thus conditioned by marriage, or their being sisters or relatives.
The transition brought about by new technologies replacing traditional ones has largely displaced farmers' control, particularly women farmers' control over production decisions and resources.
In developing new technology, the needs of women have been overlooked. More attention has been paid to increasing efficiency than to addressing the needs and problems of the group that actually does the work.
The conventional banking norms pertaining to security and collateral exclude a large number of women farmers as they generally do not possess land to offer as security. Thus the formal money market's rural credit system does not reach the women.
The Government's policies to encourage crop diversification and to produce high-value crops for export should take into account both household food security and child nutrition.
Strategies for Women's Participation
· The main strategies for improving women's participation in agricultural and rural development are:
· increased participation by women in development planning and policy making
· equal educational access in agricultural training and an increase in the number of female agricultural extension officers
· technology design and extension outreach programmes specially tailored to women's work and management patterns
· broadening of rural credit programmes to ensure women's access
· removal of legal impediments on land transfers to female children and women
· gender-specific data collection and research.
· drawing up specific policies to increase women's participation in the implementation of rural development programmes
· in management training, "women and development" must be one of the core items
· increasing the number of project staff and field workers involved in rural development activities relating specifically to women
· promoting the formation of social and economic groups among women
· a form of impact assessment relating to the position of women should be introduced into all proposals for projects activities in the Integrated Rural Development (IRD) Programmes
To reflect Thailand's rapidly changing economy, the country's agricultural and rural development policy was drawn up under national development guidelines which emphasize the improvement of basic infrastructure and the alleviation of rural poverty. So far it has been relatively successful. Yet poverty and inequitable income distribution remain significant problems.
Women are the main group and source for farm labour. Despite the many domestic tasks that women carry out on a daily basis, their contribution to agriculture still accounts for more than 50 percent of the country's total agricultural production. Current policy, however, still fails to consider the role of women in specific issues, even if they have the same rights as men in land tenure, educational opportunities, or access to Government services.
Most Government activities are still too often headed by men. This mistake is a result of the stereotyped sexual perceptions of development policy makers, who automatically define husbands as the heads of households and thus the logical recipients of development programmes. This situation greatly reduces the actual participation of women and effectively cuts them out of the development process, delaying national advancement as a whole.
Considered by occupation, the number of women involved is close to that of men in almost all fields except unpaid family work, where women, of course, are in the large majority. In administrative, executive and managerial work, men are three times as numerous as women. Regarding income, the average monthly wages for women are generally lower than those for men. Women also suffer more from unemployment. The rate of unemployment among women is 4.3 percent, as compared with 3.1 percent for men.
Lack of education is an obvious obstacle to women's advancement. Politics is also still a male stronghold, with minimal participation by women. On societal attitudes, a large number of women themselves actually believe they are inferior to men and this undermines their own as well as others' development.
A new dimension in women's policy suggests that before planning effective development programmes and projects, it is essential to understand the way women and men interact, divide responsibilities, allocate risks and resources, share burdens and organize their labour. The concept of work in any programme or project should be expanded to include both domestic and non-domestic work in order to have an accurate picture of women's contribution to the economy.
"Agriculture is the backbone of our economy" is a comment commonly made throughout the Pacific nations. But if we look at the performance of the agricultural sectors today, it is evident that our countries are in a very poor situation. Agricultural production is steadily declining as evidenced in export figures over the past 10 years. Nor are our countries achieving food security. The traditional food sectors are characterized by neglect and degeneration, and the growing dependence on imported foods is reflected not only in sizable food imports but in the alarming increases in the incidence of malnutrition throughout the Pacific. Simply put, people are not doing as much agriculture as they did in the past.
Market realities are one reason for this state of affairs. Distance from major trade routes inhibit market opportunities and small Pacific nations vie with each other in seeking niche markets. A second group of factors relate to migration, migrant remittances and foreign aid. These inputs into our economy have enabled us to enjoy high standards of living without devoting long hours to agricultural tasks, but they foster "inequity" because they are not equally distributed throughout the villages or between families.
Past Rural Development Strategies have tried to work 'within' the prevailing traditional customs and institutions. A major reason for the present status of the agricultural sector, on which this paper focuses, is that planning has proceeded on the assumption that:
· agriculture is male work
· the major goal of the farming sector is to produce cash crops for export
As a result of these assumptions, agricultural resources and services have been directed towards males, who are also, of course, the major decision makers in this sector.
These are false assumptions. Women are playing an increasing role in agriculture - largely as a result of the monetization of the economy. Furthermore, the aim of the smallholder farming household is 'food production' for home consumption, rather than production for sale. Today, 72 percent of Samoan households are active to some degree in agriculture. A basic level of mechanization is employed, due to the stony nature of our volcanic lands, but also to financial constraints. As one woman farmer commented to me: "All I've got is my bush knife, my hammer and my hands!"
A major issue is whether future agricultural and rural development policies can continue to operate according to such trade systems, taking into account that cultural ways have themselves changed, or whether new structures are required. This issue is not confined to agriculture or rural development alone, but is part of the wider issue of national development and purpose, and human rights and equality as well.
· Awareness-raising. People must be made aware of women's contribution to family security and community and national development generally.
· Data is needed to support the case for a recognition of women's actual and potential contribution to agricultural and rural development so as to add weight to women's claim for recognition of what they do and their right to be included in decision-making processes.
· Steps must be taken to assure women access to the educational and resource services they need to fulfill their roles.
· Steps must be taken to include women and women's issues in local and national decision-making forums in the interests of balanced, logical planning.
Agricultural and rural development policies must be planned according to the realities of the smallholder sector today. Questions which must be addressed in decision-making include, for example:
Who is doing agricultural tasks today? This requires the examination of the small family production system (for example, age, male-female ratios, female heads of household). Answers to these questions will affect resource support systems which, ideally, should be community-wide.
What are the aims of the smallholder producers? As stated, 'food security' is the major aim of smallholder producers. As a result, national policies should reflect a dual concern - family food security as well as commercial production for commercial purposes.