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GENDER GAPS. CHANDA GURUNG GOODRICH PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST – EMPOWER WOMEN ICRISAT CRP1.1 South Asia Regional Inception Workshop 25/06/2012. Land, water & other natural resources. Women’s rights to land are weaker than those of men: btw. 10 % - 20% of all land holders are women

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CRP1.1 South Asia Regional Inception Workshop 25/06/2012

Land, water & other natural resources

Women’s rights to land are weaker than those of men:

  • btw. 10 % - 20% of all land holders are women

  • where ownership and inheritance laws have been reformed in favour of women - local customs and lack of information act as barriers

  • Women’s rights do not prevail after husband’s death

  • Women’s holdings tend to be smaller and less fertile

  • In the case of male migration and de facto women heads of HHs, conflicts may arise as prevailing land rights rarely endow women with stable property or user rights

Labour and LabourMarkets

  • Family labour, including thatof women, is often controlled by husbands - women tend to be unpaid labourers on their husbands' land

  • Men and women have different accessto paid labour

  • Farms run by female-headed HHs have less labour available for farm work - have fewer working-age adult members and women have heavy and unpaid household duties that take them away from more productive activities

  • Labour scarcity limits women’s farming activity

  • Labour remuneration also differs along gender lines - the total income share received by men is much more than received by women.

Financial Services

  • Rural women have less access to credit than rural men - limits their ability to purchase seeds, fertilizers and other inputs needed to adopt new farming techniques.

  • In most countries the share of female smallholders who can access credit is 5–10 % points lower than for male smallholders

  • A variety of legal, socio-cultural and institutional constraints limit rural women's access to credit

  • Altho’ women form the largest %age of those reached by microfinance, they receive very small loans (quantities), and in aggregate the fewer men reached by microfinance receive a higher proportion of loans than the many women put together.

  • In Africa, women receive less than 10% of the credit to small farmers and 1 % of the total credit to agri.

Extension services and agricultural training

  • Men are the primary recipients of extension services

    – one reason for this is that men dominate as extension officers/agents who frequently disregard women in the delivery of services and their specific needs, interests and problems are neither heard nor addressed

  • Most often women are disregarded in agricultural trainings


  • Women are much less likely to use purchased inputs such as fertilizers and improved seeds or to make use of mechanical tools and equipment

  • In most cases perceptions of gender do not allow women to operate many of the mechanised technology

  • Mechanised technology is mostly designed with men in mind, therefore, most of these are not women friendly

  • Women have less access to information and communications technologies as compared to men

Human and Social Capital

  • Differentials in education rates between men and women still persist at all levels of income, suggesting that social and cultural factors play a stronger role than income in determining female participation in education.

  • Domestic chores - fetching fuel and water, tending of younger siblings - are one of the factors limiting girls’ access to schooling

  • Many associations, groups, institutions even at the community levels are mostly dominated by men

  • Men have higher mobility than women – more network circles


  • Women are consistently under-represented in institutions at the local and national level, and have little say in decision-making

  • Gender barriers limit women’s participation and reinforce power gaps

Some anticipated risks

  • Lower rates of adaptive innovation & heightened food insecurity among women food producers compared to men if crop/crop varieties, livestock, forest, fishery or water management practices are not compatible with women’s preferences and constraints

  • Lower incomes for women as they lose control over traditionally female sources of income generation

  • Widening gap between women and men in capacity to adapt if women’s indigenous knowledge loses its value and viability

  • Increased drudgery for women in agriculture/livelihoods work as well as household provisioning – especially as scarcity of natural resources (fuel and water) intensifies or if male outmigration from farms accelerates in response to hardship

  • Increased vulnerability to risk for women if the gender gap persists in access to extension and communication technologies

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