gender and sustainable rural development perspectives from nigeria n.
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Gender and Sustainable Rural Development: Perspectives from Nigeria. Olanike F. Deji (Ph.D.) Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Nigeria

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Gender and Sustainable Rural Development: Perspectives from Nigeria

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    1. Gender and Sustainable Rural Development: Perspectives from Nigeria Olanike F. Deji (Ph.D.)Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Nigeria A Paper presented at a Conference Organised by Humboldt University of Berlin, 25-26 January, 2013


    3. Introduction • Women in the rural areas of Nigeria concentrate in agriculture, and other non-agricultural activities such as food processing, wholesale and retail trade predominantly in the informal labour market (self-employment) • Despite women’s critical contribution to rural development and in general, to national accounts, their rights and priorities remain insufficiently addressed in macro-economic policies; legal framework; political transformations witnessed in the last few decades.

    4. What we know……….. • Women lack access to critical resources • Land and landed properties (as male children often inherit land directly from fathers) • Credit: rural women are under-served by banks and financial houses; inability to present requisite co-laterals etc • Farm inputs – fertilizers, seedlings, extension services (who often assumed farmers to be men) etc. • Formal education, especially technical education • New technologies e.g. ICT • Gender stereotypes /gender biases inhibit women from full participation in the development process

    5. What we know ……….. • The neo-liberal models which informed economic reforms since the early 1980s, assumed that free trade, investment liberalization, private sector and financial system deregulation, and the privatization of public-owned enterprises and services would lead to sustained economic growth, improved productive capacities, and higher growth and productivity. • In reality, neo-liberal models have negatively impacted on men and women in the developing countries as Nigeria.

    6. Gender Gaps in Nigerian Rural Economy • High level of poverty (In Nigeria 65% of women live below poverty line) • Rural women lack access to critical resources – land, capital, and technology etc. • High maternal mortality • Low growth rate • Low Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) with implications for African Human Development Index; • High Gender Inequality Index • Women’s work do not enter national accounts • Women’s work remain largely unpaid for

    7. Gender Gaps in Nigerian Rural Economy • Mortality • Natality • Access • Control • Professional • Ownership • Household

    8. Roles of Policies and Programs in Nigerian Rural Economic Gender Gaps • The traditional norms and values of Nigerian society is characterised by gender inequality and patriachal systems. Generally, in Nigerian society, maleness/masculine is a symbol of strength, accomplishment, prestige, superiority, boldness, and courage, while the opposites are associated with femaleness/feminine.

    9. Contd… • Problem of sustainability (as it remained an individual pet project). • Problem of finance (as such programmes only depended on donor funding rather creating a niche for women’s concerns within the mainstream governance. • The rural women were never organized to be sustainable, nor exposed to lifelong entrepreneurial skills. • Most programmes exhibited what was latter called ‘femocracy’ (a parallel government by the First Ladies, though such power were not backed up by the Nigerian Constitution). • Lack of technical skill in building women’s capacity to move beyond practical gender needs to strategic gender needs i.e. the status quo remains). • Sometimes, cold war between the First Lady and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs where control is not given to the First Lady on a platter of gold. • The rural women were not usually carried along as partners in the process. • Exploitation, lack of accountability and credibility. • More often than not, the programmes were hijacked by the female elites and men for self aggrandizement.

    10. WHY WOMEN’S ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT • Achievement of poverty reduction goals – poverty reduction model; • Empowering women makes a business/economic sense (women being about 50% of the African population) – leading to the growth of businesses and markets – The Efficiency model • Improved quality of life for family members; and growth of national economies

    11. THE EMPOWERMENT MODEL • Its Dimensions

    12. CONCEPT OF EMPOWERMENT Sarah Longwe’s Empowerment and Gender Equality Model: 5. Control 4. Participation 3. Conscientization 2. Access Welfare

    13. Critical factors in Women Empowerment/ Gender Equality (MDG3 Plus Approach)


    15. II. WOMEN EMPOWERMENT: EFFORTS MADE SO FAR • The role of the State: • The International Policy Environment • Declarations/Treaties/Conventions on Women Empowerment which most member nations were signatories • United Nations Commitment to Gender Equality and Women Empowerment • The Regional Policy Environment • The Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa, African Union (2004) • The National Policy Environment • Development of National Gender Policies across African States; • Creation of Women Machineries • Gender Mainstreaming in governance • Improving women’s access to financial institutions • Best Practices now emerging in Africa (Rwanda; Tanzania; Uganda; South Africa; Ghana)

    16. THE NIGERIAN EXPERIENCE • Creation of Women Ministries • Adoption of the National Gender Policy (2007) • Gender Mainstreaming In Sectoral Policies and Plans • Targeting maternal health and children issues; • Women In Agriculture programmes • Micro credit projects • Support for Women in Politics • Partnership with Development Partners on women/children issues • Private Sector Initiatives on GEWE have been very minimal • Creation of Women Centres - where women learn vocational skills, numeracy etc. • Some level of research on the situation of women and gender issues in the country e.g. Studies on Engendering national budget; Maternal mortality; Economic Indicators in the Gender Sector; Grassroots mobilisation for GEWE

    17. SELECTED WOMEN EMPOWERMENT INITIATIVES Micro credit delivery to the grassroots women in 22 States – Women Fund for Economic Empowerment (WOFEE) – with a revolving loan of N6 Million per state. Each women group was to make a deposit of 10% of the amount approved for them – Rural Women could not meet with this obligation hence the programme could not achieve stated objectives (FMWA&SD and its counterparts); The Women Housing Project Plan by the Federal Govt to achieve housing for all by the year 2015 (targeting widows, singles, and female headed households) The Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa (NGO) – 2004 The African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) – a fund raising and grant-making initiative - established June, 2000…… among others.

    18. III. WHY WE HAVE NOT ACHIEVED FULL EMPOWERMENT FOR WOMEN • Women empowerment was often carried out within a WID framework (thereby failing to challenge the status quo) • WID framework: • Women seen as the problem (blaming the victim) • Focus on women targeted projects; and failure to challenge the structures that created gender inequalities in societies; • WE Model mainly addresses women practical gender needs. • Failure to use a system-wide approach to achieving women empowerment;


    20. GAD Model • Looks at how power is negotiated between men and women; • Both men and women are seen as actors in the development process; each has a role to play in development • Household economy is recognized as an emerging economic unit where power is negotiated for economic empowerment; • Women empowerment is seen as a means to an end (achievement of gender equality); while gender equality is an end in itself (human rights); and also a means to an end (being the development of nations) • Important therefore to challenge gender stereotypes and gender biases in nation building • GAD model addresses women’s strategic gender needs.


    22. Comments on GAD Model • Conditions for instituting a GAD Model is yet to be fully institutionalised; • Most instruments where this has been applied do not enjoy appropriate political will (in implementation) e.g. the Nigerian National Gender Policy (domesticated only by Ekiti State out of all the 36 states in Nigeria) • Application of GAD model is often seen as threatening the status quo • Poor supportive infrastructure to instituting the National Gender Policy: • Lack of technical capacity in gender mainstreaming in both public and private institutions;

    23. Contds……. • Gender budgeting is still a new concept to Nigeria (and many African States); • Government is yet to engage the Private Sector re responsibility towards adopting the National Gender Policy • Gender inequality structures go unabated in the grassroots • Gender Management System is yet to be properly adapted by the various institutions of government and the Private Sector • Poor Monitoring scheme to ensure the implementation of the National Gender Policy • Nigerian Constitution, is in principle, discriminatory towards women

    24. Failure to engender macro economic policies • Gender statistics are rarely used in planning and policy formulation • The first time Nigeria would ever consider gender issues in macro economic policies was with NEEDS and later the Vision 20:2020 (both flawed by failing to treating women/gender issues as cross-cutting with sectoral policies and plans • Failure to professionalised the Women Affairs Ministry and its organs • No direct commitment from the private sector to engender their institutions (current realities present women in the organisation to work out their own coping mechanisms for breaking through the ceilings, rather than organisations accepting ‘gender equality’ framework as a core value for modern organisation

    25. Forward looking strategies and agenda setting for Rural Women Economic Empowerment • Sharpening of the tools of engagement with RWEE: • Sensitisation/Advocacy; • Gender Diagnosis tools/Gender Audit • Gender Mainstreaming Tools • Gender Budgeting Tools • Gender Statistics • Methodologies of doing gender research • Gender indicators monitoring

    26. Research and Documentation • Disseminate data from gender-based research widely; • Produce and disseminate information leaflets on women’s/gender issues • Collect oral history of women • Properly document and analyze successful and failed programmes in the Gender Sector • Collect cross-cultural case studies • Involve women as agents (instead of objects) of research

    27. Sensitisation/Advocacy on Gender Issues • Dialogues with stakeholders • Raise gender issues with policy makers • Review of legislations inhibiting on women • Affirmative actions where necessary • Provide enabling environment for child care in the workplaces

    28. More gender sensitive women and men in decision making positions • Promote gender awareness • Support for gender sensitive laws, legislations, policies and programmes; • Gender mainstreaming as an administrative tool; • Better health facilities for women • Better nutrition • Improved technical and entrepreneurial skills • Better relationship with the MEDIA on gender issues • Embrace principle of inclusion/ diversity at all levels of governance

    29. Sustainability Issue • Gender budgeting across sectors • Build technical competencies in the area of gender mainstreaming; • Monitor the implementation of gender-focused policies and disseminate results widely • Promote gender research • Build capacity for gender analysis at the local community level. • Government to provide private sector institutions that key into the National Gender Policy and/or any issue relating to women’s empowerment with some level of incentives