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Framework of the Strategy
for Action

The Strategy for Action is based on the recommendations of variousinternational conferences, including the Fourth World Conference on Women. It falls within the framework of the follow-up to the World Food Summit and of the Strategic Framework for FAO 2000-2015. It elaborates on one of the elements in the current FAO Plan of Action for Women in Development which was approved in 1995,5 namely, the availability, accuracy and use of quantitative and qualitative data and information on rural women. It also consolidates the other lines of action in the Plan: development and use of methodologies; enhancement of rural women's skills; and support for the formulation of gender-sensitive policies.

Although there is now a general acceptance and understanding of gender mainstreaming, there is still a gap between awareness and concrete integration of gender aspects in the projects.

Delegate of Finland

The Strategy for Action is based on the assumption that the achievement of gender equality and food security are closely linked to one another. Knowledge of the relationships between the different roles and responsibilities of men and women within the agricultural production process, as well as an understanding of the mechanisms determining access to and control of resources, are both essential elements in this.

The goals of the Strategy for Action are to:

In one area of the Himalayas in India, on a 1 hectare farm, a man works for 1 212 hours a year, a pair of bulls for 1 064 hours and a woman for 3 485 hours. The woman's average working hours are 640 for breeding, 384 for irrigation, 650 for transporting organic manure, 557 for sowing and 994 for harvesting and threshing.

Delegate of India

The objectives will use participatory approaches at all decision-making levels6 to:

The stakeholders involved in the Strategy for Action include a wide spectrum of actors, from individuals, women's associations and other civil society organizations, to the private sector, development agencies and government institutions. Each of the parties may be involved in the production, dissemination or use of information, or in a combination of the three. Nevertheless, in the policy-making process, regardless of whether or not it is decentralized, main stakeholders can be identified for each function.

The problems of rural women cannot be solved by feminists' groups and women's organizations alone. The involvement of every sector is necessary. Most important, however, is political commitment and support.

Delegate of the Gambia

Production of information

Rural populations, men and women, who provide primary, especially qualitative, data.

Statisticians, researchers and development specialists, who collect, process, analyse and present secondary qualitative and quantitative data.

Dissemination of information

Civil society organizations, which stimulate exchanges of information between the rural population and policy-makers and often act as spokespeople for both.

Media, which convey information to mobilize public opinion and bolster advocacy activities.

Rural women need information. They need to know what information is being disseminated about them, and to influence that information. We must enable these women to speak out, increase the number of fora for them to exchange their views and experiences, and we must promote the leadership of women.

Delegate of Burkina Faso

Use of information

Men and women farmers, who use information to analyse the possibilities for improving their livelihoods and to empower themselves in order to assume responsibility at different levels of the decision-making, management and planning processes.

Currently, the lack of information on the role of rural women in development has a detrimental effect on how social and economic decisions are taken, which in turn exacerbates the spread of poverty and undermines food security.

Delegate of Ireland

Policy-makers, planners and international development agencies, who use information to identify development trends and prospects and to conceive policies.

The Strategy for Action is governed by a number of basic principles , which take a gender-sensitive view of development while reiterating the need to foster peace, social justice and respect for human rights. These principles include the following:

Use of gender analytic tools and participatory approaches would enhance the bottom-up programme planning with community involvement in problem identification and in seeking solutions to the problems ... (and) would help to collect qualitative information for developing gender responsive interventions.

Delegate of Malawi

The Strategy for Action outlines guidelines for action , which aim at giving agricultural producers, both men and women, equal access to resources and provide specific support in the following areas:

The Strategy for Action applies a number of methodological tools , which facilitate sustainable activities in the following areas:

Partnership for action. This contributes to strengthening women's participation and establishing the type and scope of the information on, for and with rural women.

Socio-economic and gender analysis. This strengthens the capacity for formulating gender-responsive policies for achieving food security.

Strategic planning. This helps in the participatory design of realistic plans of action that are consistent with the expectations and priorities of all partners involved. 

5 FAO. 1995. Plan of Action for Women in Development. Conference document C95/14-Sup. 1-Rev. 1. Rome.
Decisions may be taken by an individual (man or woman), a household, a community, a firm, a government department, a non-governmental organization (either national or international), etc. A decision-maker can therefore be any individual or group of individuals capable of intervening in a decision-making process, the scope of which may be individual, family-based, community-based, national or international, etc. A decision-maker may therefore be one or more women, one or more communities, one or more political leaders, etc.

Processing data on fishing catches in Senegal


Ugandan women attending a village meeting to discuss cooperative problems and their solutions


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