Gender equality in rural development and agricultural extension in Fogera District, Ethiopia: implementation, access to and control over resources
Gender equality is seen both as a human rights (social justice) issue and as a precondition for and indicator of sustainable, people-centered development. Ethiopia is a signatory to various gender conventions and declarations. Much progress has been achieved in terms of establishing institutional arrangements. However, practical implementation of gender equality remains a challenge. Assessing the current status of gender equality (implementation, access to and control of resources) of women in maleheaded households, female-headed households and male-headed households in rural development and agricultural extension was the focus of this study. The district was purposively selected based on crop and livestock farming systems of the zone. Sampled kebeles (peasant associations) and respondents were selected using simple random sampling techniques. A total of 140 respondents were selected for the interview. The data were collected using a structured interview schedule. Study findings confirmed that variations were observed between male household heads, female household heads and women in male-headed households in terms of participation in different rural development processes and access to and control of resources. Compared to past experience, titles of land ownership for women in male-headed households and femaleheaded households were improved. Women farmers have less access to extension services as compared to men and low representation in local organizations. It was also observed that real problems and needs for agricultural advice are not considered on a gender basis when planning and preparing extension packages in the agricultural services. Women farmers were not addressed in rural development and agricultural extension program activities explicitly. Participation of women in male-headed households and female-headed households in agricultural extension package program was still very low (28.5% and 57.1%, respectively) when compared with male-headed households (74.3%). Participation of women in male-headed households in rural development and agricultural extension events like training, meeting, planning, field days and demonstrations was also very low (<5%). Strengthening of women’s organizational capacity and involvement of women in local institutions need emphasis and support at all levels by the concerned body.
Keywords: Agriculture, access, extension, equality, household, organization, participation, control
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