The women in development service
The Women in Development Service (SDWW) is located in the Women and Population Division of the Sustainable Development Department. The work of this Department focuses on key dimensions of sustainability: research and technology, extension and training, natural resources monitoring and management, agrarian transformation, mainstreaming of women in development (WID) and people's participation. It promotes sustainability concepts, strategies and methods in each of these areas, and helps integrate them in the development programmer of FAO member countries and FAO's own technical units. The priority areas of the service are highlighted below.
Promoting Gender in Policies, Legislation and Civil Institutions
With reference to the Beijing Platform for Action adopted in 1995 and the Plan of Action of the WFS in 1996, FAO assists Member Nations to design and implement policies and programmes for rural women that reduce or eliminate legislative, administrative, socioeconomic, and behavioral obstacles to rural women's access to productive resources and services. It also increases women's skills, capacities and opportunities to participate in decision-making processes affecting their productive capacities and their socio-economic and political status. Technical and policy guidance is also provided by SDWW to FAO's Technical Divisions for the implementation of their WID Programmes of Action.
Training and National Capacity Building in Gender, Participation and Food Security.
To enhance the productive capacities of rural women and men and to increase food security, SDWW continues to develop and disseminate through training the materials, tools and methods needed to undertake participatory socio-economic and gender analysis. Special attention will focus on the Socio-Economic and Gender Analysis (SEAGA) Programme, which is being implemented in collaboration with UN and other international agencies, and which has training targets that include staff in key ministries, extension services, research and academic institutions, and NGOs. Capacity building in WID also targets FAO's Technical Divisions in order to strengthen normative and operational activities.
Livelihood Strategies and Resource Management in Rural Households
This priority promotes effective service delivery systems to small farm households and helps to diversify communication systems in the communities. Emphasis is placed on the development and provision of environmentally-sound technologies, home economics training and extension services, and on the expansion of rural employment opportunities for women, including agro-industries, micro enterprises, financial management, and marketing services in the formal and informal sectors. The specific activities take account of the increasing feminization of agriculture and of poverty, food security issues, equitable participation, and sustainability concerns. The living environment, housing and sanitation issues and concerns are also addressed.
Constituency Building in Support of Gender and Food Security
Partnerships and alliances with institutions, INGOs and NGOs that address the concerns of rural women and food security issues are strengthened through normative and technical assistance, through joint, collaborative activities in such areas as training in leadership and management skills, and through rural women's associations and networking. SDWW also participates in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of international policies and strategies for the advancement of women through the existing inter-agency coordinating mechanisms. A special focus is on bringing the issues of rural women to the forefront of the agenda of international fore.
Inter-Disciplinary Approaches to Gender, Environment and Sustainable Development
With reference to Agenda 21 of UNCED, especially Chapter 24: "Global Action for Women Towards Sustainable and Equitable Development", action-oriented research focuses on analyzing the links between women and environmental sustainability. Of particular concern are the impacts of environmental degradation, rural-urban migration, food insecurity, and population policies and practices on the livelihoods of rural women and their families. Concerning food security, attention is drawn to rural women's roles in maintenance and conservation of genetic resources and sustainable resource use in such areas as integrated plant nutrition systems, irrigation and watershed management, integrated pest management, fishery conservation and aquaculture development, and forestry use and conservation.
Information Collection and Dissemination in Support of Gender and Food Security
SDWW supports the collection, compilation, analysis, and diffusion of time and task allocation data and statistics disaggregated by gender and the development of indicators on women's participation in agriculture and related fields in order to make more accurate and detailed development policies and programmer. It highlights the relationship between rural women's status and demographic dynamics, as well as the constraints to the participatory involvement of rural women in development activities. It also emphasizes the roles and contributions of rural women in achieving poverty reduction, building food security, and attaining sustainable development. This priority also promotes the use of information technologies to reach and motivate rural women.
Through it's focus on the above key areas. SDWW aims to:
(a) present a more complete depiction of rural women, so that their conditions and contributions to the economy and to society are valued, recognized and integrated into planning mechanisms
(b) contribute to rural women's empowerment through capacity building activities and training
(c) increase the awareness by governments and policy makers to gender-based equality and accelerate the process of moving from words to deeds in the inclusion of gender issues in macroeconomic policies
(d) address the vital role that women play in food production and food security and affirm the need for the full participation of women at all levels in order to achieve sustainable development.
Women in Development Service
Women and Population Division
Sustainable Development Department
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla - 00100 Rome
Tel.: 39-6-52252251. Fax 39-6- 52252004