Wageningen Statement on Gender and Agriculture in the Information Society (13-09-02)
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CTA. 2002. Wageningen Statement on Gender and Agriculture in the Information Society (13-09-02). ICT Update Issue 8. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57508
Gender and rural development have a Cinderella status in the international debate on sustainable development.
Actions that empower the poor, broaden their social and economic opportunities, and reduce their vulnerability to disease, hunger, and disasters are key to eradicating poverty, which is also the primary focus of the millennium development goals agreed by the international and national development communities. The advent of the information society offers increased scope for ICTs to be used to address poverty and to enhance rural livelihoods. ICTs can empower rural people by amplifying their voices. They are ´enabling´ tools that can help poor rural women and men to capitalize on emerging opportunities, especially in education and income generation. Moreover, they can be used to help to cushion shocks and disasters such as disease and hunger. However, gender disparities mean that these opportunities are not immediately available to the poorest of the poor - who are mostly women. This is compounded by the dwindling attention given to rural development itself. To address these disparities, concerted action needs to be taken in two broad areas: enabling rural women to use ICTs, to improve their livelihoods and those of their families and communities and to amplify their voices in local and national fora; ensuring that development actors systematically adopt gender-sensitive approaches in their programmes, especially those in agriculture and rural development. To achieve such action, five priority areas need to be addressed by all stakeholders, including rural communities, governments, civil society and the development community. Priority areas for gender, ICTs, and agriculture Mainstreaming. Gender must be mainstreamed in all development activities, from formulation and design through to implementation and evaluation. Ensuring the participation of poor rural women in these processes is key. Policy. National policy on rural issues and ICTs should give high priority to actions that promote gender equity and provide an enabling environment for rural women to improve their livelihood opportunities. Access. Affordable ICT infrastructure and support services must be brought to rural areas. Access to this infrastructure should be based on community priorities as well as local gender-sensitive principles. Content. The knowledge of rural women is a valuable resource and driver of local livelihoods. Women have specific information and communication needs that should be explicitly recognized - and acted upon. The creation and exchange of local and locally relevant content by rural women themselves or customized to their needs (in local languages, for example) should be given top priority. Human capacities. Education and learning opportunities should be made available to all rural women and men to realize the ´education for all´ principle. Girls and women should receive priority in ICT and related skills development schemes, to ensure their active participation in rural development and in the information society. The real challenge is to converge efforts on gender, ICTs and agriculture for rural development. By adopting these actions and priorities, poor rural women will finally be able to use ICTs in ways that will improve food security and provide sustainable livelihoods and, ultimately, the quality of life in rural areas. More information on this workshop on Gender, ICTs and Agriculture, and the participants, can be found on www.cta.int/observatory2002 CTA´s website.