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全球粮食安全与营养论坛 · FSN论坛

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

There are several very interesting dimensions emerging from this discussion. Haris has picked up the issue of women's work, gender divisions of labour, and its links to both technology and wage markets. This is probably an area that needs more systematic research to understand its impacts on nutrition, as much research in south Asia points to the differential impacts of wages in terms of empowerment, linked partly to the motivation for work - whether it is out of necessity or choice - and the type of work. When new technologies are introduced, why do particular tasks/activities often shift to men, and consequently their value too rises? Can the better designed cotton bag described by Mahesh lead to significant improvements in women's health, but will it also lead to sharing of the cotton picking task by men?

Thanks Mahtab for raising the issue of nutrition awareness and education. This is crucial, however, rather than using a standardised approach, there is need to contextualise it in line with local food cultures and availability. The differential food preferences emerge also from some of the other contributions, especially from Africa. While several NGOs in India have been successful in working with groups of women to deveop nutrition-sensitve agriculture as well as awareness strategies, could these potentially be upscaled? The issue of sensitisation for men, raised by Barnali and Bhavani, is important, as despite women's work and incomes, sometimes it is the men who go to the markets and make the household purchases. Final decisions on what is consumed then often lies with the men.

It is very good to hear about the food safety act of Bangladesh. I think this is an important dimension, as despite all efforts, lack of adequate safety measures in both production and food processing/handling, can have adverse consequences for health and nutrition.  

I would like to hear a little more about the seasonality dimension. Recent Lansa research in India seems to indicate that there are seasonal changes in food availability and consumption, leading to temporary energy stresses. whether these have any longer term outcomes is however not clear.