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Re: Rural women: striving for gender transformative impacts

Nitya Rao
Nitya RaoSchool of International Development and LANSAIndia

For gender transformative impacts, your first question already gives a clue, and that is, to understand the differences amongst rural women, in terms of needs and priorities, but also their coping strategies. We dont give adequate attention to the ways in which women are already using the resources they have to survive. Sometimes this involves risky strategies, including engaging in non-legal activities or transactional sex. Once we are able to map out women's gendered vulnerabilities, especially in a context of climate change and growing male migration, we then need to ensure that policies and strategies support or enhance their strategies, provide them information that can ensure safety, for instance.

In much of Africa, an analysis of data reveals an increase in the number of female-headed households. What this indicates is that often women are opting out of marriage, but making economic and emotional partnerships that ensure some support and reciprocity. This has implications for resource access, but equally health and fertility. Gender transformative impacts may then emerge from different starting points, but the bottomline is that the processes of engagement need to address unequal power relations, be it of class, ethnicity/caste or gender.