FSN Forum

DISCUSSION No. 142   •   FSN Forum digest No. 1309

Rural women: striving for gender transformative impacts

until 6 August

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Send your contribution to
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FSN Forum website www.fao.org/fsnforum


Dear Members,

Please find below the summaries of the new contributions received to the online discussion Rural women: striving for gender transformative impacts and feedback from Clare Bishop, the facilitator of the discussion.

Clare acknowledges that we have already covered a lot of ground during this discussion. For the remaining week, she specifically invites participants to discuss private sector engagement and involving boys and men in order to achieve gender transformative impacts.

All comments received so far are available on the FSN Forum website, where you can also find the introduction to the topic in English, French or Spanish.      

You can send your contribution in any of the UN languages to FSN-moderator@fao.org or post it online upon registration to the FSN Forum.

We look forward to keep receiving your comments!

Your FSN Forum team

Clare Bishop, facilitator of the discussion

Thank you to all new and returning contributors for your inputs to the online discussion during the last week.

A summary of the contributions by topics addressed shows that we have already covered a lot of aspects of question 1 (in terms of the context, needs and priorities of rural women), question 2 (the policy framework and skills development), and question 3 (ways for addressing deeply rooted gender norms and engaging with men).

Have the interests and priorities of rural women in your country of region been adequately reflected in the discussion?
The contributions during the last two weeks have shared insights from around the world on different aspects of the empowerment of rural women. The greatest number of contributions have come from Asia. If you feel the discussion is missing a perspective from your part of the world, please feel free to contribute.

Are there more examples of the private sector creating space to empower rural women?
The topic which has received less attention overall – although there have been some very valuable contributions – is around engaging with the private sector and women’s entrepreneurship. How can women be facilitated to fully engage with private sector opportunities?

Men – are we hearing your voice?
Men have been active in this debate, accounting for one quarter of the contributions. But if you have more to say, especially regarding effective ways of engaging with men and boys to achieve gender transformative impacts, please write in.



iconLibor Stloukal, FAO, Italy

According to Libor, policy-makers and rural development practitioners should pay close attention to population trends and be prepared to implement appropriate measures to maximize the potential benefits of the so-called “demographic transition” for achieving gender equality.

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iconSalome Amao, International Forestry Students Association, Nigeria

Salome argues that a lack of education and self-esteem has resulted in women missing out opportunities and preventing them to be agents of gender transformative change.

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iconSangeetha Rajeesh, LANSA Consortium, MSSRF, India

Sangeetha underlines the capacities of rural women in identifying and addressing the problems they face. She shares the link to a publication that describes achievements of rural women in India who dared to take a stand against all odds to break the mould, and of women who were not afraid of being ambitious while continuing to play their traditional roles in the family and society.

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iconKuruppacharil V. Peter, World Noni Research Foundation, India

Kuruppacharil discusses a number of legislative and administrative actions that have been undertaken in addressing gender inequality in Kerala, India. For instance, women have important positions in public administration.

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iconJyoti Shrivastava, Women and Child Development, India

Jyoti lists a number of challenges rural women in India are currently facing, and provides possible ways to address these. She for instance points out that in villages, families tend to be large and parents experience difficulties in properly taking care of the children; hence, family planning is crucial.

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iconMorgane Danielou, Private Sector Mechanism, France

Morgane posts a contribution on behalf of the Private Sector Mechanism (PSM). In dealing with all the discussion questions, the PSM mentions various example of private sector engagement in initiatives related to women’s empowerment, such as Nestlé’s work to empower women in the cocoa supply chain in Côte d’Ivoire.

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iconSidra Mazhar, Collective for Social Science Resarch (CSSR), Pakistan

In response to the question of whether we are using the right approaches to close the gender gap, Sidra points out that donor efforts to empower women often start with the reallocation of economic resources between men and women. Although this has led to economic freedom for women, she questions whether having more economic resources necessarily leads to empowerment.

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iconJohanna Schmidt and Flavia Grassi, FAO, Italy

Johanna and Flavia focus on women’s work burden and time poverty. Their contribution discusses various ways to address these challenges, such as encouraging the collection of sex-disaggregated data and addressing household dynamics and prevailing discriminatory gender norms.

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iconAanand Kumar, CARE India Solutions for Sustainable Development, India

Aanand stresses that in India, the private sector does not engage with women due to its assumption that women have poor purchasing capacity. The prevailing idea is that women need small-sized and user-friendly machines, which does not encourage investment in their design, manufacturing, accreditation and distribution as the profits are not expected to be high.

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iconMahesh Chander, Indian Veterinary Institute, India

Mahesh elaborates upon the support needed to empower women, and emphasizes the important role of microcredit for rural women. Specifically, he refers to the loans provided by the Grameen Bank, and discusses how Grameen’s “Sixteen Decisions” provide a vision for a better life.

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In his second contribution for this digest, Mahesh shares the article “Women Dairy Cooperatives: Empowering women for nutrition security” he co-authored.

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iconJipara Turmamatova, UN Women, Kyrgyzstan

In her contribution, Jipara refers to the Joint Programme on Rural Women's Economic Empowerment in Kyrgyzstan. Impressive results have been achieved with regard to accessing productive assets, improving nutrition and food security and increasing income, but issues such as reproductive rights and violence against women have not been explicitly addressed.

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iconJohn Weatherhogg, Italy

John responds to the question of how we can best achieve gender transformative impacts, and argues that success largely depends on finding the best entry point: in this respect, women’s traditional roles can rather be an advantage than a hindrance. He then discusses the experience of World Bank funded projects in India, which have contributed significantly to women’s empowerment.

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iconSudhi Rani, University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences, India

Sudhi shares statistical information related to gender inequality in India, and discusses the nature of gender discrimination and its causes.

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iconElizabeth Koechlein, Italy

Elizabeth contributes with a few thoughts, concerning, for instance, the essential function of social policy in improving the quality of life for rural women, and the intertwined role that conflict and climate change play in the lives of many rural women.

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