Gender and development People

Posted February 1999

Afghanistan | Bolivia, Burundi, Nepal, Pakistan, Tunisia | Costa Rica | Gambia | Honduras | Indonesia | Nepal | Namibia | Niger (1) | Niger (2) | Pakistan | Sikkim (India)

Good practices in gender mainstreaming and implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action

FAO project sheet: Costa Rica

Project title: "Support to women in rural areas within the framework of a gender approach"
Project duration: May 1996-July 1997
Executing agency/agencies: FAO
Implementing Agency/agencies: Government of Costa Rica - Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Women Ministerial Office, Women Sector Office
Project cost: US$ 235,000 (FAO); US$ 152,000 (Government of Costa Rica)


Women's work in agriculture has been systematically ignored and undervalued both in Costa Rica and in the rest of the region, thus minimising the urgent need to pay attention to gender issues in the planning process. Although this need has been acknowledged, the motivation and training of technical personnel from relevant institutions, the theoretical knowledge of gender issues and the methodological and operational tools have been insufficient or inadequate to obtain the desired results. At the political level extensive efforts have been made to ensure that a gender dimension is incorporated in the agricultural sector's guidelines. On the other hand, lack of disaggregated statistics by sex in household censuses and surveys have contributed to the underestimation of women's activities in the sector.

The institutional strategies and mechanisms adopted by the government have not produced substantial changes in the actions and attitudes of the executive and technical staff, nor have they generated greater and more equitable participation of women in this scenario. In spite of the changes occurred in the active labour structure, there has been no actual participation from women in the economic, social and political life. Moreover, small women producers have not had real access to the training, research and technological services in the farming sector. In this context, the government of Costa Rica decided to undertake the project in question with the aim to strengthen the productive role of rural women and to improve their living conditions.

Specific changes resulting from the project

What was planned

Overall objective: to contribute to the introduction and development of an alternative methodological approach, i.e. the Gender Approach, in the guidelines, policies, programmes and activities of the mixed farming and environmental sectors.

Specific aims and related activities:

What was the strategy

The promotion of a specific methodological approach:

The creation of adequate operational tools :

Who was involved

The government of Costa Rica, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) and two ad-hoc institutions, the Women Ministerial Office (WMO) and the Women Sector Office (WSO) were key actors in supporting the project. The project has been carried out and managed by a Gender Planning Committee, which was formed with representatives of the mixed farming and environmental sectors. Training institutes, sectoral production organisations and men and women farmers associations took an active part in the process.

Replication/spin effects

What was learned, factors contributing to success

For more information, contact:
Women in Development Service
Women and Population Division
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100, Rome, Italy
Tel: +39.06.5705.5102 Fax: +39.06.5705.2004

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