Rural Women’s Empowerment

This Expert Paper by Christine Okali of University of the University of Sussex is well worth reading. It was prepared for the UN Women Expert Group Meeting on  Enabling rural women’s economic empowerment: institutions, opportunities and participation that is now being held in Accra, Ghana, in cooperation with FAO, IFAD and WFP.

http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/csw56/egm/Okali-EP-8-EGM-RW-Sep-2011.pdf

Achieving Transformative Change for Rural Women’s Empowerment 

Here is the paper’s conclusion:

“In terms of who can do what, organisations at different levels each have roles to play. UN agencies and other macro-level organisations have a key role to play in changing the way in which women are portrayed, narratives about gender relations, and even more basic understandings about who does what (that has been made central to planning). This may be one of the biggest challenges given the way in which this information has been used to date to promote a feminist agenda. However, a shift is already evident in the 2010 FAO SOFA. Meso-level organisations have a similar role to play but in addition they need to build capacity in the gender analysis that goes beyond comparisons between men and women on roles played and assets owned. What little information there is suggests that agricultural research organisations at this level need to incorporate a gender relations understanding within their participatory strategies, and to contribute insights into the understanding of the role of spouses and others in individual decision-making on say technical change. In terms of highlighting change pathways for achieving women’s economic empowerment, there are gaps in information, especially about supportive environments for change. A starting point for this work would be to identify existing formal and informal institutions that enable women’s agency, voice, claims and opportunities.”

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