Monday, November 7, 2011

Gender equality; key for agricultural success

Gender equality
A fundamental human rights issue, gender equality means equal empowerment and participation for both men and women in all spheres of public and private life. This does not imply that both sexes are the same but rather that they are equal in rights and dignity. As with all human rights, gender equality must be constantly fought for, protected and encouraged.
As we endeavor to transform farming into a form of employment to the many jobless youths and use it as a flagship project in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals –
  • Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability
  • Goal 8. Develop a global partnership for development
Approaching it “gender blindly” is going to be a world goose chase.
Gender equality is a goal that has been accepted by governments and international organizations. It is even enshrined in the MDGs and many other agreements. This underscores the importance of gender equality not only in agriculture but across all other sectors in order for them to achieve their full potential.
Many studies have revealed that cash crop yields on plots managed by women are lower than those managed by men. Does it mean women are worse farmers? NO. This is not because women are worse farmers than men; indeed extensive evidence shows that women are just as efficient as men. They simply do not have access to the same farm inputs as men, if they did, their yields would be the same as they would produce more and overall agricultural production would increase.

Concerted efforts should therefore be directed towards gender education. If it addresses both girls and boys, it can be a positive force for creating gender equality in modern society and change the roles that girls and boys and women and men play in private and public life. By reducing gender stereotypes, gender education assists children in building a genuine civic equality where males and females live in relationships of cooperation and in mutual respect. The building blocks for gender education are gender awareness.

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