8. Gender analysis tools
Introduction: The Need for Gender Analysis
Increasingly woodfuel and other biomass sources have become inaccessible to women due to large-scale degradation of the environment and the inability to sustain rural energy sources. (See Box 1) There are two major features of such an energy crisis: women in poor, rural households are affected more than others, leading to an increase in the labour used to collect woodfuel from longer distances; and there is a diversion (and eventual scarcity) of organic materials like cowdung, dry leaves, and crop residues, from other uses, such as fertilizing fields, with possible adverse consequences on agricultural fertility.
Over the past few decades, a number of innovative measures have been introduced to solve the woodfuel problem. These have been mainly of three types:
Improved stoves to economize on the consumption of wood for fuel
Community, social and farm forestry projects to increase the supply of wood for fuel
Equipment using alternative sources of fuel for cooking and other domestic purposes, like the community or household gas plants, using organic wastes.
Reportedly, these measures have had poor results, largely because, as for instance in the case of improved stoves, the specific needs of users (women) have not been taken into account in formulating such solutions; and the improved stoves were not just another piece of equipment but introduced new ways of cooking. In the more successful cases, however, it was noted that there was a high involvement of users or women in the design and construction of energy-saving equipment (Bina Agarwal, 1986). More importantly, where there is a higher opportunity cost of women's labour, there is a demand for improved stoves to reduce cooking and fuel collection times.
Thus, whether a community or household does or does not seek greater efficiency in fuel use depends on decisions by woodfuel users, i.e. poor rural women. They will decide on the basis of factors like: How and to what extent will their labour be saved? And, what are the alternative uses of that labour in non-domestic, income-earning activities and the consequent impact on household welfare and their own social position?
The praxis of such a policy demands the application of gender analysis to the woodfuel case.
Box I THE SEARCH FOR FUEL IN INDIA
"Energy surveys in the country show that in an average semi-arid village, a woman walks as
much as 1,400 kilometers a year - the distance from Delhi to Calcutta - to collect firewood alone... The situation is much worse in hill and mountain regions such as the Himalayas and in the arid regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat.
"As firewood becomes scarce, people scrounge around for cow dung - a valuable source of
manure which literally goes up in smoke. But today even cow dung is scarce.
"Given the energy crisis, people improvise in a thousand different ways to collect this very
basic need for cooking energy. In many places, crop residues such as arhar sticks and
cotton sticks are being used increasingly for fuel. But with a difference. Crop residues, unlike most trees and weeds, are a private resource... And today they are being used as a bargaining counter by the landed. In Jalna district in Maharastra, where cotton sticks are an important fuel, we were told that landowners had refused to increase farm wages by threatening to stop giving the free supply of cotton sticks to the laborers. In many other places today, crop wastes are given in place of wages.
"In West Bengal people have no option but to burn leaves. Every morning, women walk to the nearby forest and literally sweep the ground with brooms to collect every fallen leaf to take home. But these bundles of leaves, after hours of back-breaking work, will disappear in cooking just one meal. Leaves are such poor quality fuel that women are forced to shove in leaves every minute to keep the fire going. The situation... is so bad that we found a four month old plantation... being swept clean by young girls.
"As the environment degrades, women have to spend an extraordinary amount of time
foraging for basic household needs such as fuel, fodder and water. It does not matter
whether they are young, old or pregnant. There are no Sundays or holidays. It is a job which
takes place, day after weary day, year after weary year".
Source: "Between Need and Greed - the wasting of India; the greening of India" (1987), Anil Agarwal in The Fight for Survival People's Action for Environment Edited by Anil Agarwal Darryl D'Monte and Ujwala Samarth, Centre for Science and Environment.
Paying attention to Gender Analysis means recognizing that households are not solidary units with undifferentiated labour, resources and incentives; but in fact are made up of women, men and children who may share, complement, differ or be in direct conflict in their need for or interest in improved technologies.
Gender Analysis quickly gained a foothold in international development agencies in the late 1980s. The major tools of Gender Analysis were derived from either the Harvard "WID Analytical Framework" (1985), or the Development Planning Unit of London College and the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC, 1991) conceptual tools or a combination and adaptation of these. These provided the basic questions that researchers or project workers were to ask when they went to the field - how they were to generate data for future work.
The Harvard WID Framework had four sections - (1) an activity profile, which was basically the gender division of labour; (2) an access and control profile, which looked at access to and control over resources for production, reproduction and decision-making; (3) factors influencing activities, access and control - that is, the basic causal determinants of the gender division of labour and access to resources, which inevitably had to include the overall influence of the national and world social, economic and political structures; and (4) application to the project cycle, that is ensuring project identification, design, implementation and monitoring was adequate to gender issues and to women's as well as men's needs and priorities.
The DPU - CIDA conceptual analysis expanded these to eight tools, focusing on (1) the sexual/gender division of labour; (2) types of work, which appear to have involved a classification of the data gathered from the first set of questions into the three categories of productive work, reproductive work and community work; (3) access to and control over resources and benefits; (4) influencing factors; (5) condition and position, which was a kind of summary of data from the first three tools in a form that attempted to differentiate women's material condition viewed in and of itself from their relative position in regard to men of the community; (6) practical needs and strategic interests, which incorporated the important differentiation raised by Maxine Molyneux and Caroline Moser, attempting to build in some assessment of women's day-to-day needs and long-term emancipatory system-transforming goals; (7) levels of participation, which asked in particular about relative decision-making powers at various phases of the project and its impact on women and men; and (8) potential for transformation, which asked gender analysts to assess the long-term and basic potential effects of the project of the transformation of gender and power/class relations in the community (CCIC, 1991).
At the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) we added three new tools of Gender Analysis to deal with Asian specific situations (Kelkar, Omvedt and Weber, forthcoming). These include: (1) poverty, analyzing the problem of poverty, its gender specific features, and what kind of government programmes and interventions can help in alleviating it; (2) cultures, assessing cultural perceptions and categories that may assign a subordinate place to women and also to the resource within particular cultures in specific areas for moving beyond subordination; and (3) empowerment, in the context of a process of advancement of women in decision-making and in influencing gender relations through change in the perception that women have of themselves and of others, and the ways in which the role and functions of women are defined (ESCAP, 1994, 75)
With regard to the woodfuel case, the Gender Analysis tools adapted are the following: gender analysis of labour; distribution of benefits within the household; access, control and management of resources: women's agency; and gender policy for technology development.
Gender Analysis of Labour
Fuelwood is a material necessity for maintaining food consumption. its appropriation and processing involve energy expenditure, i.e. Iabour. For calories to be of any use in economic analysis they must be converted or carefully related to use and exchange values. Though, monetary or other economic transactions are not the equivalent of physical flows.
Economic relations are grounded in a concept of value. But not all energy expenditure (labour) is valued in the same way. Thus, it is necessary to open up the 'household' cell, a black box, i.e. a cell whose content is unexplained or unexamined in the usual farming systems approach.
Yet another major problem area has been the inadequate understanding and analysis of the household differentiation, particularly with respect to gender. This is despite the recognition of the importance of gender many years ago and the incorporation of social scientists into research systems. This positive move has not been developed further, as many research systems have little understanding of the impact of gender analysis, both as initial step and as an integral activity in research (David Gibbon, 1993).
Labour and Work
There is a cultural division of labour within the household. But there is a distinction between the technical concept of 'effort' (or, energy expanded) and the ideological concept of work. For instance, the effort involved in childcare or healthcare is not regarded as work, but as 'service', service performed by a woman for her family.
In the case of the factory/ office worker, it might be possible to make a clear-cut distinction between two kinds of labour - that of production and of reproduction. In the peasant household such a distinction is not possible. Labour in production or reproduction are mixed up and not separable by location (in the homestead or outside) or person.
But, a distinction does exist between work that provides or brings in cash income, and work which does not. A notion also exists of the possible alternative earnings with available labour time, the opportunity cost of labour in terms of alternatives foregone. Variation in terms of effort expended between different subsistence activities, and between subsistence and other activities, is important for understanding the political economy of households.
Will money be spent to economize on labour that does not produce money (marketable goods or services), or where the saved labour cannot be used to produce such marketable goods or services? In the case of improved stoves, the effect is of saving labour spent in the collection of fuel (since less fuel will be required). Whose labour will be saved? What are its alternative uses? What is its opportunity cost in terms of other income that could be earned, or production that could be increased, by other uses of the saved labour?
Thus, whether a household does or does not seek greater efficiency in fuel use (an improvement which will cost some money) depends on the opportunity cost of women's labour in fuelwood collection and cooking. The lower the income or production lost by women's spending more time cooking, the less will be the incentive to adopt improved stoves.
To the extent that women's non-domestic, monetary income activities are concentrated within the homestead, these tend to be combined with domestic work, like cooking, and not separated from it. But when women's non-domestic, income activities are located outside the homestead, there is a push for economizing on women's labour in domestic work, like fuelwood collection and cooking. Thus, the importance of increasing the possibilities for women's non-domestic, income-earning activities outside the homestead, in order to increase the demand for more efficient stoves.
This analysis holds essentially for poor households, those who have to maximize their cash incomes and product in order to survive. At higher levels of income, where there is no need to look at the monetary opportunity cost of saving women's labour, or where woodfuel is purchased anyway, the improved stove is likely to be adopted purely for the reason that it reduces women's labour - or even for prestige reasons, for that matter.
"Where food production, work patterns and income sources and control are all changing, fuel sources probably are too." (Elizabeth Cecelski, 1984, ILO - WEP, p.84")
For example, in urban families where both husband and wife earn money incomes, and can afford the initial expenses of different fuel based stoves, time-saving cooking methods are widely used. Little effort is needed to diffuse innovations saving energy and time. And the innovations can be sold on the market, without requiring a subsidy.
Most of the activities reserved for women (either socially or in projects) tend to be physically located in and around the homestead. This results in a simple increase in the workload of women. The intensity of work increases, with more tasks having to be performed at the same time. On the other hand, if work assigned to women was of a type that takes them out of the homestead, there is likely to be greater pressure for a redefinition of gender roles, both familiarly and socially, with men taking some of the responsibility for child care (as is seen among some swidenning communities, where women and older children go to the swidden fields, leaving men and younger children in the residence) and more social provisioning for these necessary functions (as through child-care centres at Food for Work sites).
And there will be a definite increase in the demand for time-saving food processing methods to reduce time spent in collecting fuel and in cooking itself.
Thus, the wood-fuel question must be seen as an aspect of labour availability of the farm household. The gendered labour constraints and objectives of the farm household need to be understood in order to design appropriate policies.
BOX 2a: CASE STUDY for GENDER ANALYSIS OF LABOUR
"At present, most Chinese people living in rural areas still prefer to use biomass fuel-saving l cookstoves to alleviate fuel shortages and to improve general sanitary conditions in their l kitchens. Even though there is a tendency for the relatively rich rural farm and small town l households to switch to coal for cooking and space heating, biomass, especially fuelwood and agri-residues, is still a major domestic fuel and will remain so in the foreseeable l future."
"Since the early eighties, the central government authorities... have made a coordinated national effort to develop and disseminate fuel-saving stoves with the active involvement of various national, state and local institutions(e.g. administrative departments, scientific and technical research institutes, training institutions and the industrial service and manufacturing sectors). As a result, by the end of 1991, about 142.56 million farm households had adopted fuel-saving stoves, or equivalent to about 70% of the total number of farm. households in China....
"Other benefits derived from the use of the improved stoves include: time savings due to faster cooking and less collection of biomass fuels, the enhancement of soil fertility by returning the crop residues saved to the field and, as a whole, the development of the rural economy and the improvement of farmers' living conditions in rural China."
[From Dr. Wang Megjie, "Preface", in RWEDP, Chinese Fuel Saving Stoves, FAO, Bangkok, July 1993.]
BOX 2b: CASE STUDY for GENDER ANALYSIS OF LABOUR
2. India l
"The Indian National Programme on Improved Chulhas (NPIC) is a little more than eight l years old now. The major thrust of the programme has been the conservation of biofuel, l reduction or elimination of smoke from the kitchen and alleviation of the drudgery of cooking, as experienced especially by women. By early 1992, over 12 million improved chulhas or improved cookstoves had already been disseminated all over the country.... By  it is anticipated that a coverage of about 25% of potential rural households will be achieved. "
[From L.M.Menezes, "Preface", in RWEDP, Indian Improved Cookstoves, FAO, Bangkok,
"Subsidies were provided for the installation of improved cookstoves and Technical Backup Centres were established in many States. "
[From E. Pelinck, "Foreword", in RWEDP, Indian Improved Cookstoves]
What gender factors are responsible for the different performance of India and China with regard to the dissemination of improved cookstoves?
Why is there a difference in the pricing of improved cookstoves in India and China, with a continuing (though falling) subsidy in India and commercial sale in China?
Distribution of Benefits Within the Household
The now standard neo-classical economic theory uses the concept of the Rational Economic Man -defined as being entirely selfish and self-seeking in the market. But the same Rational Economic Man is also assumed to be entirely altruistic at home.
The household in standard neo-classical economic theory then has a joint utility function something like socialism (from each according to ability, to each according to need) in one family (Nancy Folbre, 1994). James Mill invoked the concept of a joint utility function. He argued that women did not require the franchise, because their interests were represented by their fathers and husbands. His son, John Stuart Mill, one of the founders of neo-classical economics, championed individual rights, and so women's rights.
Class theory has presumed that the working class or peasant family is united in struggling for its interests against capital and the state. In a sense, the families of working people (workers and peasants) are also presumed to have a joint utility function!
As we have already seen, within the household there is a cultural division of tasks, of labour. The subsequent distribution of benefits within the family do not in anyway have to correspond to the contributions of the various family members to the family's total labour, whether within or outside the household. Rather, the distribution of benefits within the household also depends on the distribution of ownership of assets, attribution of cash incomes, perceptions about relative contributions, and so on. Rather, than possessing a joint utility function, the family can be seen as a venue of cooperative conflict. (Amartya Sen 1987).
According to Sen's analysis the distribution of benefits within the household is influenced by a few factors, chief among which is the "breakdown" or `'fallback" position of the two partners. The breakdown position is that which would obtain in the event that cooperation (i.e. marriage) were to fail. The breakdown position depends on the independent access of each partner to the means of production. This breakdown position is relevant to the distribution of benefits within the household -a stronger breakdown position secures a more favorable outcome within the household. Then, the worst position would be where a woman completely depends on a man for access to the means of production or income. A woman in such a position would be forced to accept a much less favorable outcome in the household than a woman who had independent access to the means of production. Such independent access to the means of production, both familial (e.g. land) and communal (e.g. forest resources) would then strengthen the woman's position in the distribution of benefit within the household.
A study of various tribes in the Jharkhand region of India (Kelkar and Nathan, 1991), revealed that in some tribes (e.g. Santhal, Munda and Ho) access to forests, the source of gathering, is not mediated in the way that access to agricultural land is. Any member of the community, woman or man, can apply his/ her labour to gathering. Further, the income from gathering accrues to the one who performs the labour of gathering, who also does the marketing. But in tribes like the Kherwar, while women's involvement in gathering is no less than in the tribes mentioned above, the women do not carry out the marketing and do not have separate control over the income from gathering.
Corresponding to these differences in control over income, there is also a difference in the relative position of women, with Santhal, Munda and Ho women having a relatively higher position in the family.
Access, Management and Control of Resources: Women's Agency
In the gender analysis of labour, we have seen that without taking account of the gender distribution of monetary and non-monetary activities, it will not be possible to understand the acceptance and spread of attempted innovations, like improved stoves. Approaching women and involving women is not enough to guarantee the success of a project that aims at reducing women's drudgery.
In this part, we will look at the importance of understanding gender roles in managing woodfuel resources in order to design effective projects for increasing woodfuel production.
Women's concerns are not confined to well-being. In confining one's attention to well-being, women are treated merely as beneficiaries. But women, like men, also have agency roles, which means that they have to be seen as agents of judgment and change, of management.
Women are the primary collectors of woodfuel. This is more or less so in most agro-ecological regions. Men and children also collect woodfuel, but to a much lesser degree. In some places, e.g. Bangladesh, woodfuel collection away from the homestead is the work of men. Women, however, are also day-to-day managers of wood and related biomass resources.
But a distinction needs to be made between daily management of and control over resources:
In peasant households in the plains, land is almost exclusively owned by men. This gives them the right to dispose of the family's assets. The key decisions about the use of the household's resources may be made by the man, while the day-to-day management, within the limits set by the earlier decisions, may be carried out by the women. Of course, while performing such daily management functions it is always possible to stretch the decisions in one way or another. This is the everyday form of resistance that subordinated people, whether peasants or women, exhibit. But we should not exaggerate the possibilities of such stretching of the limits - they may modify the effects but are not likely to change the direction of deployment of the household's resources.
The growing phenomenon of men migrating in search of urban wage labour, leaving women to manage agriculture, does give more scope to women as unsupervised managers of the family farm. But still leaves ownership in men's hands.
In the peasant situation, women's access to productive resources is necessarily mediated through men. Women, on their own, do not have access; though they do perform the labour and carry out daily management.
Men are then understood to be the "farm operators". And are approached when decisions are to be taken about investments in farm forestry. Or, when women are approached they are unable to take appropriate decisions - because they do not own the land.
BOX 3: CASE STUDY for GENDER ANALYSIS of EFFECT OF ACCESS, AND OWNERSHIP OF RESOURCES
In Himachal Pradesh, India, in the drought year of 1987, a women's organization, SUTRA tried to motivate women to plant trees, since the women were then walking 20 km to get one headload of fodder. SUTRA introduced the idea of multipurpose trees, and provided seedlings. The members of the women's groups were asked to send lists of plants they required.
However, when the seedlings arrived, few were taken by the women and of those that were taken, few survived. Analysis showed that the areas with the greatest potential for growing trees are the privately owned grazing lands since here the trees will not compete with valuable cash or food crops. But these are far from the home and difficult to protect. In general, men cut any trees with commercial value, for timber. The women were afraid that the same fate would befall their newly planted trees. The men after all have the last word on the management of resources on family property. The men were not at all concerned with fodder and fuelwood trees.
[Source Madhu Sarin, in Local Organizations in Community Forestry Extension in Asia,
FAO/RWEDP, 1993, summarized in M.M.Skutsch.]
What steps could be taken for an effective multi-purpose tree project in this situation?
What national enabling steps (including legislation) would make it easier to secure the correspondence between use and management/ control of the necessary resources?
In many tribal communities (e.g. in Jharkhand in India) women do have access to forest resources and to income from the sale of forest produce. But the overall management of forests is in the hands of the village council, which is composed of adult men and explicitly excludes women. Even in a matrilineal community like the Khasi, men represent the family in its external relations (such as a project would involve) and form the village council. Consequently, women are not included in village forest committees.
That women do not own land and that they do not form part of village forest committees, means that those who are affected by decisions about a resource are not the ones who participate in decisions about the resource. It is a usually accepted condition of an efficient property system that those who are affected by decisions also participate in decisions about that resource.
This would not matter if there were a common utility function for the family. Then, women (and children) could as well be represented by the male head of the household.
Deciding on the composition of trees to be planted to be planted either on farmer-owned farmland, or in community woodlots is an important aspect of management. To the extent that women are not an equal part of the decision-making body (farm operator or community committee) their specific preferences for particular types of trees would be ignored or given less importance in the management decisions.
Discussions with men and women in the forests frequently reveal differences in matters like the choice of trees. Women are said to prefer trees for fuel, fodder and fruit; while men are said to prefer timber trees that can be sold commercially.
But the difference is not because women are not commercially oriented, while men are. Women, for instance, may choose fruit trees not out of a preference for having fruits available to eat, but to sell the fruit. The difference lies in the maturity period. Men are more willing to risk a longer investment period, as is necessary in the case of timber trees, with lumpy returns.
Women, on the other hand, prefer trees that yield returns with a shorter waiting period and smaller returns spread out over a longer period, as with fruit trees compared to timber trees.
These differences in attitude to maturity periods lie in women's greater responsibility for day-today care of the family, which makes them concerned with quick-yielding and regular returns. Men, relieved of these immediate cares, can afford to think of longer term investments, with lumpy though much larger returns.
Thus, consulting only men or allowing sole decision by men, is likely to result in an unsustainable emphasis on longer-term investments with lumpy returns. Unsustainable because the need for quick and regular returns will be pushed onto other parts of the resource base in unanticipated ways. In order to get a sustainable mix of activities that will increase productivity, it is necessary to take account of women's specific concerns with quick and regular returns, and to enable women to participate in decision-making on these matters. This involves both women's ownership of land and their participation in village or user councils.
BOX 4: CASE STUDY
GENDER IN COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS
In the above example (in Himachal Pradesh, India) the NGO started to work on getting women collective control over common lands. Up to then, the forest department consulted the village Panchayat (council) about the type of trees to be planted on common land. the council was solidly male and commercial timber species were always planted. Various women's groups began to oppose this strategy; one group passed a resolution that unless the forest department planted at least 50% fodder species, they would uproot all the trees and replace them with fodder crops. They also demanded that in future the Forest Department should consult with the women's organizations as well as the village council; later this was taken further, to demand that the government should give the women's organizations the power and responsibility for deciding how the common lands should be developed.
[From Madhu Sarin, in " Local Organizations in Community Forestry Extension in Asia",
FAO I RWEDP, 1992, summarized in M.M.Skutsch.]
A group of men was invited to a village meeting to jointly plan a community forestry project. The men told the foresters that they wanted to plant hardwood tree species to make furniture and wood carvings to sell. Three thousand hardwood seedlings were provided. They all died. Why? Because in the village it was the task of women to care for seedlings; no one had told them that the seedlings were coming. Another meeting was held. This time the women were included. Foresters learned that the women preferred soft wood fast-growing species for fuelwood and fodder. When the project provided seedlings of both types, satisfying the needs of both women and men, the women planted and watered all of them.
[From Marilyn Hoskins, Gender Analysis and Forestry, in press, Sec.A, p. 6.]
Why are there differences between men and women in the choice of trees? Is it a matter of biology, or different inclinations, of different areas of responsibility for the family?
How can these differences be taken care of in a project?
Gender Policy for Technology Development
Besides the tendencies to break down a system into its parts (reductionism) and to seek technological solutions to the defined problem (technological fix), another strong feature of research policy has been the belief that "formal research and extension is the primary source of new ideas and technologies that will benefit all farmers. Research and extension institutional structures were developed to support the central source, transfer of technology model of development" (David Gibbon, 1992.)
There has been little recognition of the need to consider "a dynamic, interactive relationship between the researcher, extensionist and farmer, and to initiate activities that support the process of technology development in a variety of ways simultaneously."
So long as agricultural research concentrated on the reasonably controlled environments of irrigated rice and wheat fields, few problems were encountered with the old approach. But when ICRISAT and other organizations began to turn their attention to the vastly variable environments they had to deal with, they were faced with the inability of existing technological approaches to solve pressing problems of agricultural development in some areas, in particular the rainfed and semi-arid plains and the hill-forest regions. This has led to the questioning of some of the analytical methods of science and the organizational methods of research. The great variation in environments led scientists to consider the necessity of working in active partnership with farmers, in emphasizing joint work, rather than a "to rely on an expert-outred transmission of knowledge approach."
The old "scientistic" approach is increasingly under attack and it is being increasingly realized that producers, farmers in this case, have an important contribution to make in creating and developing new technology. In the new science of agroforestry it is commonplace to start with the observation that, while some farmers have long used trees in combination with crops, agricultural scientists have only now begun to look at the role of trees in farming systems. "Agroforestry is an ancient land use of great promise as a new agricultural science. Traditional farmers have long used trees in combination with live-stock and annual crops, yet agricultural science has in the past ignored the role of trees in farming systems," (MacDicken and Vergara, 1990.)
The basis for farmer's participation in technological development lies in the labour that they perform and their decisions and systems of managing their resources. As a result of this labour and management of resources they gain valuable knowledge and skills. This knowledge and skills may not be (and usually are not) available to the professional scientist and other technicians, whose practice rarely extends beyond the laboratories and experimental farms. It is the need to bring together the knowledge and skills of the producers (indigenous knowledge as it is sometimes called) with those of the professional scientist and technician that makes a partnership between farmers and experts necessary.
When we talk of the knowledge and skills that farmers possess, does this mean that all of this knowledge and all of these skills are available to all farmers? If so, it would make no difference which farmer we happened to include as a partner. The potential contribution of each person would be the same. (This is the technological counterpart of the household's "single utility function", which enables the man, as head, to represent the household.)
Since knowledge and skills depend on participation in labour and in the management of resources, to the extent that there exists a division of labour within the farm household, the knowledge and skills possessed by different sections of the household will be different. This is the reason why we need to take account of the gender division of labour in production and in the management of resources in a programme that seeks technological development by combining the scientist/ technician and extensionist with the farmer.
The recognition that women and men possess different parts of the knowledge of indigenous farming practice does not mean an abandonment of holism. Some attempts at opposing reductionism (those of the eco-feminists) sought to do this by identifying men with reductionism and women with holism. What is needed is not the replacement of men by women, but a recognition that communities of farmers (including those of tribals in the uplands) are composed of dominant and subordinate genders, and that the "knowledge of the community" resides in particular social beings, who are women or men.
As a result of women's continuous use of woodfuel they have in-depth knowledge and know-how about various species. "When it comes to the knowledge of fuelwood species,..., women can differentiate between those which provide quick high heat, those which provide long-lasting low heat, and those which smoke....When it comes to the management of fuelwood species, successive generations of older women have trained younger women in the art of lopping or pollarding." (Martha Chen, 1993)
A variety of biomass goods are used by rural households. Their collection, processing and use are often gender-specific. " Women are the primary processors, driers, and storers of many of these [biomass] products. Moreover, women generally manage the energy flows from biomass resources, particularly in the form of fodder and composting materials, to the agriculture and livestock sub-systems of household livelihood systems: for instance, gathering and processing fodder, caring for animals, converting animal dung into fertilizer." (Martha Chen, 1993, 31)
As mentioned above, agroforestry is getting increasing attention as a means to solve fuelwood supply and other problems. Agroforestry is a newly-emerging scientific discipline within agriculture. But its practice is very old. Centuries (millennia) of agricultural development have centered on "farm" and "forest" as dichotomous categories, "trees" and "crops" opposed to each other. But now international attempts are being made to revive and extend the practice of agroforestry. The humble home garden, of which the Javanese is the most outstanding example, is now recognized as the repository of very essential knowledge about multi-tier farming.
"While home gardens may occur within systems ranging from shifting cultivation to intensive-multiple cropping in permanent plots, they seem to be the domain of women wherever such a plot is one among many other plots available to the household, or in cases where men are almost exclusively engaged in off-farm labour. In intensively cultivated areas of land scarcity, the whole household may work the home garden under the management of the head of the household, as in parts of Southeast Asia. In such cases, the rationale for the home garden shifts more towards labour intensification on scarce land rather than efficient multiple use of women's scarce time. Even so, these plots may have greater relative importance for women than for men, based on the distribution of labour input and on the fact that men may have alternative sources of cash income. This is also reflected in the tendency for women in Java to inherit home gardens, while their brothers inherit the rice croplands" (Dianne Rocheleau, 1987).
In Bangladesh "by tradition women have always been more involved in homestead agricultural production than men" (C.Safilios-Rothschild and Simeen Mahmud, 1988.) The wood from homesteads is the major source of fuelwood in Bangladesh.
Home gardens then are a special agroforestry niche of women. The development of agroforestry as such requires careful attention to women as those in whom traditional knowledge of agroforestry practices resides.
BOX 5: CASE STUDY: l Gender Policy for Technology Development l
"... the scenario is such that forests (land under forestry departments' control) are unlikely to be available for fuelwood production through the agroforestry approach in most developing countries. Similarly, food production will continue to be of top most priority so that it may not be prudent or feasible to envisage any substantial fuelwood production schemes on arable agricultural lands at the cost of food production. However, agroforestry can be of value in this context by:
Incorporating and integrating appropriate species of woody perennials on farmlands along with other components of the farming system not in a competitive but in a complementary way
Integrating herbaceous crops and livestock on forest land according to the agroforestry management schemes so as to facilitate simultaneous production of wood and food crops
Employing agroforestry techniques for reclamation of degraded lands and proper l utilization of "wastelands".
"Some prototype agroforestry technologies for each of these situations are now available. | Most of these have evolved through the trial-and-error approach of local farmers with practically no scientific input to improve them. The greatest scope for improving their efficiency and obtaining tangible results in such a programme lies with the integrated food and fuelwood production initiatives in small holdings."
P.K.R.Nair, 1994, "Agroforestry and biomass energy/fuelwood production," in Agroforestry Systems in the Tropics, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, 597.
Are there any gender differences in the knowledge of women and men that are not taken account of in the above analysis?
What difference would any such differences make to design of an agro-forestry project?
Along with the home garden, swidden is another type of multi-tier, multi-crop cultivation. Over a long historical period the thrust of agricultural development has been in the plains. Monocropping and irrigated cultivation reached their culmination in the Green Revolutions. This route of development has very little scope in the hill forests, or in the exclusively rainfed plains. The multi-tier, multi-crop cultivation system to which attention is now being paid, is characteristic of swidden. This Ester Boserup had characterized (in the context of Africa, but it hold good outside of Asia too) as a "female farming system".
A recent study by Ramakrishnan (1993) shows the overwhelming importance of women's labour in swidden. Swidden is very much women's work with men mainly contributing a short, sharp burst of activity in clearing the fields.
To draw attention to the important knowledge that women have in swidden, we may take the case of planting. Planting involves not only the physical labour of digging holes and planting seeds (which is done by women), or broadcasting in some cases, but also the careful selection of microsites within the swidden filed. A variety of grains and pulses is planted. "When a swidden field is planted the visual result, as viewed by the outsider, is a mixture of plants that defies his idea of order. But to the swiddener, the field is a reflection of the soil variation in the fields and the plants that will do best in each microsite" (Warner, 1991, 39).
The complexity of planting in swidden fields shows the important role of women-specific knowledge of multi-tier, multi-crop cultivation. This knowledge needs to be built on in any attempt to develop the productivity of sustainable cultivation in the uplands, if not elsewhere too. This is not so much a matter of applying particular, well-known techniques and methods but of utilizing the principles embodied in swidden agriculture in order to create a higher productivity, while conserving the natural resource base. The relevant principles of swidden are (Warner, 1991):
Integration of trees into the agricultural system
Utilization of microsites, micro-environments, multicrops and multivarieties
Maintaining stability by the many components of the agro-ecosystem.
Above, we have referred to the very complex knowledge involved in cultivation in home gardens and swidden fields. A recent UNIFEM study of Women's Roles in the Innovation of Food Cycle Technologies, gives many more such examples. "In Sudan women carry out forty-step fermentation processes with utmost care. This causes foods to be preserved for up to two years despite the hot climate. Women know how to use and treat enzymes as they would be used and treated in a laboratory.... In Zimbabwe, women use their knowledge of alkaline and acidic properties in the processing and utilization of over fifty kinds of indigenous wild plants. In Kenya, women potters utilize their knowledge of the properties of different clay sources and proportions of mixtures in making durable pottery products and fuel-efficient stoves. Women salt extractors in Sierra Leone possess knowledge about the intricate chemical processes of salt solubility and crystallization rates of sodium chloride vis-a-vis other salts" (Ilkkaracan and Appleton, 1994, 70).
Processes of fermentation and other biological methods of preserving and processing food are well known to women, with variations from area to area depending on the type of agro-ecological zone. In the use of neem and other natural products for pest control, women seem to do the major role of processing and preparing the materials, with the application being left to men. (Information supplied by Dorritt Benden-Little.)
The preservation of seeds is often the province of women. In some hill-forest regions (e.g. among the Kreung and Tampuan tribes in Rattnakeri, Cambodia) women are the main repositories of knowledge about herbal medicines. In many tribes men have a monopoly of the public knowledge of the complex use of herbs and other treatments. But there are instances of women tribal doctors who are experts in this field.
The number of examples given could be multiplied. But the point is to investigate in each location the specific gender division of labour, the various tasks that women perform and the consequent knowledge that women possess of the relevant processes. This has to be the starting point of any attempt to develop a gender framework for fuelwood interventions.
One of the reasons why such an investigation needs to be carried out is that a large part of women's labour in agricultural production is "invisible". Women's labour in many parts of the agricultural cycle is invisible in census figures. They would continue to remain invisible if investigations of women's roles were confined to asking men about it. Men usually respond with the answer that women only do "domestic" work and nothing else. A large part of women's labour is subsumed under "domestic work"; looking after the animals, tending to the home garden, processing various agricultural materials, and so on, are all regarded as merely parts of domestic duties, and of a very low technical level not deserving the title of labour. Thus, women's knowledge too can remain invisible. In an article, Wild Plants as Milk Preservatives, Ann Waters-Bayer was forced to remark that her male informant "did not once mention that the Fulani who have the knowledge about how to preserve milk and who hold all the other knowledge about milk processing are not the 'herders' but rather the Fulani women" (Ann Waters-Bayer, 1994). The above-quoted UNIFEM study of Women's Roles in the Innovation of Food cycle Technologies (Ilkkaracan and Appleton, 1994) sums up the matter, "Women's knowledge of production processes, although scientifically based, remains largely invisible. Nevertheless women constantly use their knowledge to make rational economic and technical choices and changes appropriate to their environment" (p. 70 in original).
While the combination of modern technology with indigenous knowledge is very essential, it is important that when this takes place the women concerned do not lose control over the results of this combination. This would require not just assigning intellectual property rights to the communities or individuals, but also working with them to develop their knowledge and to adapt it to other uses and more packageable forms, involving processing and formulation.
While noting the existing gender division of labour and thus not depriving women of participation in developing what they know, the existing division of labour should not set the boundary to women's involvement. This, as pointed out above, is essential for effectiveness of a programme of technological change and adaptation. But equity may require that we go beyond just this consideration.
The division of labour that exists in any place is not fixed, but changing. Further, there are wide variations from one place to another. If in Andhra Pradesh, India, men alone do the work of tapping trees (for gum karaya) in Sri Lanka women are also rubber tappers. So, there is no fixed rule that men alone should be trained in advanced methods of tapping. In a situation of grave imbalance against women, equity would require that we seek to change the balance in women's favour, not only just not making it any worse. This, however, is not just a matter of access to technology, but also one of ownership of and control over resources, particularly land.
But, let us at least begin by separately involving women in areas where they are the acknowledged traditional experts.
There is need to pay attention to the gender specific division of labour: who does what, when and where; in-farm, and off-farm; non-farm and household maintenance. This will help us to know what women are doing and what they know about woodfuel management
The question of who benefits is closely related to roles and responsibilities and control over resources. A note of caution: technological innovations may increase women's workload, without providing any direct benefit to them
It is important to treat women as users, producers and managers of woodfuel and build on their specific knowledge of agroecological systems. Policy measures need to provide women with access to and control over production, knowledge, technology and decision-making. Having access without control may mean greater constraints and less flexibility in using the resources. The major issues in this regard are increased decision-making of women, and gender equity in command over agricultural land and other resources. Enhanced decision-making by women is needed at both household and community levels
The woodfuel problem can be seen as an aspect of resource and labour availability of the farm household. The gender specific constraints on command over resources and labour of the farm household need to be understood in order to formulate appropriate policies
Whether a household does or does not seek greater efficiency in fuel use (an improvement which may cost some money) depends on the opportunity cost of women's labour in fuelwood collection and cooking. Thus, there is a need to increase the possibilities for women's non-domestic work, such as income-generating activities outside the homestead, whereby the saved labour from the use of efficient stoves can be used to produce marketable goods and services.
Agarwal, Bina, 1986, Barren Slopes and Cold Hearths, New Delhi, Allied Publishers.
CCIC, MATCH International Centre and Association quebecoise des organismes de cooperation intemational, 1991, Two Halves Makes A Whole: Balancing Gender Relations in Development, Ottawa.
Chen, Martha, 1993, "Women and Wasteland Development in India: An Issue Paper", in Andrea M. Singh and Neera Burra, eds., Women and Wasteland Development in India, New Delhi, Sage Publishers.
Cecelski, Elizabeth, 1984, "Women and Rural Energy", Geneva, lLO - WEP.
ESCAP, 1994, Women in Asia and the Pacific, New York, United Nations.
RWEDP, 1993, Chinese Fuel Saving Stoves, Bangkok, FAO.
RWEDP, 1993, Indian Improved Stoves, Bangkok, FAO.
Folbre, Nancy, 1994, Who Pays for the Kids? Gender and the Structures of Constraint Routledge, London.
Gibbon, David, 1992, "The Future of Farming Systems Research in Developing Countries," in K.V.Raman and T. Balaguru, eds., Farming Systems Research in India: Strategies for Implementation, Hyderabad, NAARM
Hoskins, Marilyn, in press, Gender Analysis and Forestry, FAO, Rome.
Ilkkaracan, Ipek and Helen Appleton, 1994, Women's Roles in the Innovation of Food Cycle Technologies, UNIFEM, New York.
Kelkar, Govind and Dev Nathan, 1991, Gender and Tribe, Kali for Women, New Delhi, and Zed Press, London.
Kelkar, Govind, Omvedt, Gail and Weber, Karl E., Gender Analysis, Participatory Rural Appraisal and Empowerment of Women, (forthcoming, AIT, Bankok).
MacDicken, K.G. and Napoleon Vergara, 1990, Aaroforestry: Classification and Management, John Wiley and Sons, New York.
Nair, P.K.R., 1994, "Agroforestry and biomass energy/ fuelwood production", in Agroforestry Systems in the Tropics, Dodrecht, Kluwer Academic Press.
Ramakrishnan, P.S., 1993, Shifting Cultivation and Sustainable Development, UNESCO, Paris.
Rao, Aruna, Mary B. Anderson and Catherine A. Overholt, 1991, Gender Analysis in Development Planning: A Case Book, Kumarian Press: West Hartford.
Rocheleau, Diane, 1987, "Women, trees and tenure: implications for agroforestry research and development", in John B. Raintree, ea., Land, Trees and Tenure, lCRAF, Nairobi, and the Land Tenure Centre, Madison.
Safilios-Rothschild, C. and Simeen Mahmud, 1988, " The Gender Dimension in Crop Production:, in UNDP, Bangladesh Agriculture Sector Review, Compendium Volume 1, Dhaka.
Sarin, Madhu, 1992, "The Potential Role of Women's Organizations in Natural Resource Management", in Local Organizations in Community Forestry Extension in Asia, FAO RWEDP, Bangkok.
Sen, Amartya, 1987, Gender and Cooperative Conflicts, WIDER Working Papers, Helsinki.
Warner, Katherine, 1991, Shifting Cultivators, Local Technical Knowledge and Natural Resource Management in the Tropics, FAO, Rome.
Waters-Bayer, Ann, 1994, Quoted in Exchange, Little Rock, October- December.
Fuelwood is a material necessity for maintaining household food consumption. Its collection and processing involve energy expenditure, i.e. Iabour in terms of calories. For calories to be of any use in economic analysis they must be converted or carefully related to market values. Though, monetary or other economic transactions are not the equivalent of physical flows of energy. Economic relations are grounded in a concept of value, but not all energy expenditure (labour) is valued in the same way. Thus, it is necessary to open up the "household" cell, a black box, i.e. a cell whose content is unexplained or unexamined in the usual agro-ecosystems approach.
Labour and Work
Cultural division of labour within the household. It is important to distinguish between the technical concept of "effort" (or, energy expanded) and the ideological concept of work. For instance, the effort involved in childcare or healthcare is not regarded as work, but as "service", service performed by a women or her family. In the case of the factory/office worker, it might be possible to make a clear-cut distinction between two kinds of labour - that of production and of reproduction. In the peasant household such a distinction is not possible. Labour in production or reproduction are mixed up and not separable by location (in the homestead or outside) or person. But, a distinction does exist between work that provides or brings in cash income, and work which does not. A notion also exists of potential earnings with available labour time, the opportunity cost of labour in terms of alternatives forgone.
Will money be spent to economize on labour that does not produce money (marketable) goods or services), or where the saved labour cannot be used to produce such marketable goods or services? In the case of improved stoves, the effect is of saving labour spent in the collection of fuel (since less fuel will be required). Some questions which need to be asked, are: Whose labour will be saved? What are its alternative uses? What is its opportunity cost in terms of other income that could be earned, or production that could be increased, by other uses of the saved labour? Thus, whether a household does or does not seek greater efficiency in fuel use (an improvement which will cost some money) depends on the opportunity cost of women's labour in fuelwood collection and cooking. The lower the income or production lost by women's spending more time in cooking, the less will be the incentive to adopt improved stoves. To the extent that women's non-domestic, monetary income activities are concentrated within the homestead, these tend to be combined with domestic work, like cooking, and not separated from it. But when women's non-domestic, income activities are located outside the homestead, there is a push for economizing on women's labour in domestic work, like fuelwood collection and cooking. Thus, the importance of increasing the possibilities for women's non-domestic, income earning activities outside the homestead, in order to increase the demand for more efficient stoves. The wood-fuel question must be seen as an aspect of labour availability of the farm household. The gendered labour constraints and objectives of the farm household need to be understood in order to design appropriate policies.