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Foro Global sobre Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición • Foro FSN

Re: Transforming gender relations in agriculture through women’s empowerment: benefits, challenges and trade-offs for improving nutrition outcomes

Nitya Rao
Nitya RaoSchool of International Development and LANSAIndia

Poultry has the potential for both enhancing women's incomes and improving nutritional outcomes. Thank you very much for the information around poultry, especially the Women's Poultry Associations, in Afghanistan. The Associations have an added advantage potentially of giving both visibility and legitimacy to women's income contributions. How far they retain control over these incomes needs however to be examined.  

It is true that in poor, rural households, whole families are nutritionally disadvantaged and not just women. The objective therefore is indeed to improve the wellbeing of the entire household and not just women within it. How can this be done? I think several strategies have been suggested in the discussions on this forum so far. An important one is to recognise and acknowledge women's contributions to agriculture and the generation of household incomes. Such recognition could be used to strengthen their legal entitlements to inputs and services, and also enhance their agency and say in household decision-making. Second, in most of South Asia, culturally and socially women are responsible for domestic and care work, including cooking and feeding the family. A second strategy is therefore to ensure that they have sufficient time for these tasks, without stretching their working day too much. This could involve the provision of fuel and energy, drudgery-reduction technologies, access to clean drinking water, sanitation and health services etc.  It could also involve a more equitable sharing of tasks between men and women in households. Thirdly, we need to make sure that women too receive fair returns for their work contributions. Gender wage gaps in agriculture often disadvantage women workers, and this needs to be corrected.