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المنتدى العالمي المعني بالأمن الغذائي والتغذية

Re: Rural women: striving for gender transformative impacts

Anne Chele
Anne CheleFood and Agriculture Organization of the United NationsKenya

One aspect in the progressive realization of economic empowerment of women is in terms of having an increasing presence of women in decision-making bodies. More can be done however particularly in enabling women to participate in decision making more effectively. Numbers is not just enough; but is a good start- there is need to address the quality of participation in decision-making. This requires investment in capacity building interventions that enable the women to better understand the issues and build their confidence enough to be willing and daring to engage and contribute ideas in male dominated fora. This is, of course, a progressive transformation to be realized over time; but key to women’s effective participation. Women who acquire skills and knowledge are able to be independent minded and self-driven; and the external interventions leverage what they are already doing.

Policies and approaches used in the various women focused interventions should be tailored to fit specific contexts as much as possible to avoid situations where this springs negative reactions. For instance, approaches applied to women headed household may need to be different from those applied to male headed ones. For the male headed households for instance, policies/approaches may need to focus more on the family unit- not to appear to isolate the woman and give them some special treatment. The policy should support “freedom of families to sit and discuss” the proposed women focused interventions. Women will do better if they are supported by their families/men, who, when they are involved, appreciate their women’s contribution to the development of the family, as opposed to perceiving them as competitors. Support for women should not appear as alienating the men, rather, it should create strong households, not empowered women and disempowered men.