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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum

Re: Rural women: striving for gender transformative impacts

Mahesh Chander
Mahesh ChanderIndian Veterinary Research InstituteIndia

Is our understanding of the challenges rural women and girls are facing still up-to-date?

There is a saying, if you are able to diagnose the problem, half the problem is solved. We have to think, are we solving the right problem? On the gender transformative front, it seems to be true that we are not designing our interventions towards attaining early transformative impacts. Gender roles for instance, continue  as tradition in many societies. Cattleshed cleaning, feeding cattle, collecting grass/fodder for livestock and fuledwood collection by women are some invisible works where women predominantly engaged since very long and there  is little shift in this primarily due to mindset even of women that they feel it is fine that not men but women doing these menial tasks. This will continue for long unless women are encourgaged for higher education. Once educated, women may not like to do these menial tasks but look for more productive engagement. Whatever developmental interventions are made to shift in these roles for transformative impact, it won't change the scenario much unless efforts are made to tackle the root cause i. e poor educational level of women mostly in poor and developing countries. The education is the key which will empower women that they will look for their roles in skilled work. In some cultures, women would not like to see their men doing certin tasks like cleaning of house and utensils, cooking food or baby sitting! It is very fundamental that women and men must think that there is no difference whether men is doing or women is doing the task - work is work whether men do it or women do unless specific skills needed which either men or women can do it well due to some kind of uniqueness.

Looking forward to interesting and stimulating contributions from diverse world!