Selection and training of field and office staff
The recruitment of staff for the agricultural survey generally involves an initial selection of the candidates who are then trained and undertake a final examination.
The most qualified persons, of either sex, should be encouraged to participate as office staff, supervisors and enumerators for the agricultural census or survey programme.
In countries where cultural and religious factors prevent women from talking freely to men, women should not be recruited as field staff or, particularly, as enumerators. However, women office staff may be recommended.
On the other hand, in some countries women enumerators may be more accepted by the respondent and by the families and should then constitute the majority of the field staff, other qualifications being equal. A team including both male and female enumerators may also be considered.
The selection of supervisors involves other considerations. Supervisors can be assigned from the permanent staff of the institution or they can be selected from among the candidates who have the required skills and leadership for the job.
Special emphasis should be given to the adequate training of the enumerators so that they are aware of the problems related to the collection of gender-disaggregated data.
If necessary, additional training should be given to women who have generally received less education than men. But different standards of qualifications for the job should not be accepted.
Training modules dealing with the existence of prejudices and stereotypes, language problems and cultural and customary gender discriminations should be developed.
The effect of the gender of the interviewer and the respondent in relation to the specific cultural and religious context should be clearly explained to the enumerators.
The following aspects related to the collection of data disaggregated by gender should be considered for the training of field personnel:
· The use of simple language and, whenever possible, use of words that are non-gender specific (e.g. in English words such as "man-week", "fisherman" and phrases referring to the holder or the head of household as "he" should be avoided).
· The concepts and definitions that create special problems in terms of eliciting gender-specific information should be indicated (e.g. "economic activity", "unemployed", "head of household", etc.).
· The main difficulties that arise concerning the measurement of women's work should be explained.
· Women's participation in extension programmes (if appropriate) is generally low. The majority of these programmes. are focused on export crops and tend to overlook food production and livestock, where women farmers predominate. In some countries, there is an additional constraint owing to the fact that women are not allowed to speak to male extensionists. In the case of a census, the reference period could be extended to more than a year in order to capture programmes with a low frequency in time.
· Manuals should be carefully balanced with male and female examples (and drawings, when they are used) and should give examples of women in unconventional roles.