Try a little genderness
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CTA. 2001. Try a little genderness. Spore 93. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/46190
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore93.pdf
The economic role of women in agricultural and rural development: the promotion of income generating activities By G Akello & F Sarr, Special paper, CTA. 2000. 10 pp. CTA number 979. 0 credit points
The pace of genderisation of many agricultural practices may be almost satisfactory, given that many obstacles have been removed with care. There may be recognition, at policy level, of women s central economic role in agricultural development. There may even be some men who are highly gender-aware and are even willing to incorporate that into their professional behaviour. All the progress being made by women, and by men and women for women, is not going to be enough if it is not tied down in law. Secured, surrounded by a chain-link fence, guarded and protected. Think of women s land rights, inheritance rights, access to finance and security of collateral none of these have legislative backing in most ACP countries. Such was the talk at a co-seminar organised by CTA in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender of Uganda and the Austrian and German development cooperation agencies, in Kampala, Uganda in late February 2001 on the topic of revisiting the legal framework in work to strengthen the economic condition and role of women in agricultural and rural development. A key problem in many ACP countries in resolving the position of women in the eyes of the law is the dual nature of the law. There is, in each society, the customary law, which is often discriminatory against women. Colonisation then imposed a colonial law on top of customary law, although today s constitutions often allow the latter to prevail above the laws that derive from colonial times. Most countries of eastern and southern Africa inherited a legal system based on English common law, and in five southern African countries (Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, South Africa and Zimbabwe) there is the added factor of Roman Dutch law from the era of Dutch influence. Elsewhere, in francophone Africa and the Caribbean for example, or in former lusophone countries, the equation is equally complex but has different components. Whilst the tools of discrimination differ from country to country, the solutions are often similar, in terms of working towards an enabling legal environment in favour of equity for women. The report of the seminar, due out later in the year, will feature detailed country reports. Heartening examples from the host nation were given at the seminar by ten women members of local councils, who explained progress in women achieving co-ownership rights with the husbands, and the safeguards for maintaining high levels of women s representation at all levels of governance. Representation is key since it is increasingly from parliament that pressure must come to achieve law reform. A dual genderisation offensive on people s representatives and on the officers of the legal system is required to create favourable attitudes, with patient and persistent education supported by well-researched arguments. Where the existing legal system has mechanisms for prising open more doors through test cases, such as the legal aid subsidies practised in South Africa, they should be exploited to the full. Sixty policy makers, NGO representatives and legal specialists from 14 countries and supportive international agencies, actively made sure that the seminar was just a step, a large step, in the right direction. Networking of experiences and case studies will no doubt continue until the last law is reformed. [caption to illustrations] These members of a Mozambique cooperative share the land, but many African farmers have no land rights their husbands do The economic role of women in agricultural and rural development: the promotion of income generating activities By G Akello & F Sarr, Special paper, CTA. 2000. 10 pp. CTA number 979. 0 credit points
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