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Challenges of Gender Mainstreamed Analyses and Development Interventions in the Bangladesh Delta Landscape
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Challenges of Gender Mainstreamed Analyses and Development Interventions in the Bangladesh Delta Landscape


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Douglas Beare presents 'Challenges of Gender Mainstreamed Analyses and Development Interventions in the Bangladesh Delta Landscape' at the at the Climate-Smart Agriculture, Global Science Conference, …

Douglas Beare presents 'Challenges of Gender Mainstreamed Analyses and Development Interventions in the Bangladesh Delta Landscape' at the at the Climate-Smart Agriculture, Global Science Conference, held at the University of California, Davis, from the 20th - 22nd March, 2013.

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  • Hello and Welcome. My name is Doug Beare. I am a Marine Biologist and Fisheries Scientist by training & have been working at WorldFish for just over one year. I have limited experience in the science of economic development and the whole idea of gender transformative adaptation is new to me. In my role as CCAFs Contact point for WorldFish I am overseeing several projects in rural Bangladesh that are addressing gender issues, which I have been asked to discuss here. This talk is the product of discussions with more specialist colleagues who are undertaking much of the actual fieldwork.
  • The first message I would like to get across is, ‘WHY bother with gender and equality (which also includes important issues of economic status, ethnicity, culture, and religion) within the general science of poverty reduction and improved nutrition?Here is Ranjithas’ picture of Pakistani twins.These kids are obviously the same age. Little boy has been breast fed, while his sister has to make do with the bottle. It would be possible for the Mother to have fed the girl in the same way or provide alternative supplements. However, the ‘boy preference’ and ‘priority’ makes it difficult for her to defy the deeply entrenched ‘norms’. This means she is going against most basic maternal (and paternal instincts)? Where’s her father? Mention ‘Asian Enigma’ where nutritional outcomes are worse for Asian female babies than for Africans, which shows the pervasive influence of these ‘cultural norms’).
  • But WHAT perpetuates this situation ? The key to this problem are the ‘socially constructed Gender norms and Attitudes’. The  Challenge is multi-dimensional. At the first level we - as scientists working in  economic development - must recognize it  as useful. And, by addressing the issue, significant improvement in food security etc. can be attained. Governments, development NGOs, donors etc. must all ‘buy in’   with heads and hearts to the argument. In doing this Capacity,which means skills and competencies for actually doing the work must be developed. People need to get it, be willing to do it, and recognize that Gender Matters. Which challenge- the one related to norms?Or for?Gender equality?Both with their heads and hearts!Which includes skills and competencies
  • Dry season Zimbabwean male drinks from 13:00 to 24:00 every day. He rises at 6am, does 4.5h work and then has breakfast and rests ….
  • Evidence that, by increasing female ‘agency’, food production can increase leading to better nutritional and health outcomes. (Get graphs, data from FAO report on Women in Agriculture).But is this actually true ? Now we need to think about HOW the hell to increase female ‘agency’ and what the challenges are for us. NoboJibon project is seeking to ‘assess gender attitudes and practices in rural Bangladesh’. Understanding the gendered division of work roles and responsibilities is a standard part of gender analysis
  • The idea (it seems to me) of the NoboJibon approach is to use the information gleaned from the surveys to find ways to influence outcomes in a more subtle, rather than direct, way.  Note that the survey results are really interesting and it is well worth a read. Ranjitha comments: In case you have not seen this before, this might be worth watching - you seen the GTA workshop report? Good reading for you. You might also want to carry some copies of that with you for the meeting. They are not very bulky and are in great demand!And the health and education sectors have tried their hand at transformative approaches with a reasonable degree of success. And all of them first try to understand the attitudes and norms to design their interventions. It will be successful only if it is subtle. We cannot tell them what to change and what we think are good or bad for them. The communities/households/individuals have to engage in a reflective process to assess what norms are working for them and which ones are not so beneficial and affecting their individual and household well-being and then be motivated to challenge and change them. this will be a long term process and if pushed in a project mode, can be successful but might not last!
  • Typically husbands provide some post-pregnancy support to their wives but this varies with occupation.
  • Surveys were divided into ‘joint families’ with a mother-in-law/granny and ‘nuclear families’ without, and participants were asked whole range of questions. The recommendations, after analyzing the results, stress the ‘holistic’ nature of the problem. Everyone seemed to have very limited knowledge on nutrition (I wonder how well people in this room would do if asked some of these questions, ie. how long should a woman breastfeed for before introducing solids ? ) but husbands and their mothers knew less than the wives themselves. This leads to insights on realistic activities to tackle the problems, ie. providing nutrition education to mums without supporting a gender strategy to raise their own decision-making status will likely have only a limited impact. The culturally held belief that Decisions should be made jointly is a cultural norm which can form a positive starting point for encouraging more equal decision-making participation on questions of financial and savings management. Appealing to other parts of their identity—their role as mothers—can help mothers ask for things that they themselves desire (better nutrition and rest, more control over household decisions) for the sake of their children. The report also clearly shows that NoboJibon should take special effort to work with women from joint families, where women have less decision-making influence and where tolerance of violence is far greater than in nuclear families.  
  • The Cage and Pond Aquaculture project is designed to investigate how gender inequality influences adaptation decisions in poor households in Bangladesh, through shaping women’s and men’s uptake and sustained usage of ‘climate-smart’ fish technologies (fish cages and pond polyculture). The research will explore how gender norms, attitudes and practices influence the way women and men assess the opportunities related to these technologies, and whether and how these gendered assessments create barriers to households being able or willing to sustain the activity. The resulting understanding of the role of gender norms and practices in the sustained use of ‘climate-smart’ technologies can be used to design technology dissemination approaches that explicitly address gender-based constraints operating within households and the wider society in order to support more lasting improvements in livelihood security.
  • Thus the challenge to me is to adopt both the more ‘general’ tactics of influencing cultural norms as recommended by NoboJibon with more specific technological interventions such as cage-aquaculture where barriers to participation are being investigated in more detail.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Challenges of Gender MainstreamedAnalyses and Development InterventionsIn the Bangladesh Delta Landscape 18 March 2013 – Doug Beare, Ranjitha Puskur, Paula Kantor, Melody Braun and Afrina Choudhury
    • 2. WHY ?• Why bother with gender and inequality within the general science of poverty reduction and improved nutrition ? N/archives/scnnewsextracts may91/begin.htm
    • 3. WHAT perpetuates this situation ?• Socially Constructed Gender Norms and Attitudes;• Challenge is Multi- dimensional;• Everyone must Buy-In and Get-It;• That includes us.
    • 4. Example of a seasonal daily activities of women andmen in Dzinavene, Chivi District, Zimbabwe
    • 5. Increasing female agency equals more food(economic) production ? • FAO report on Women in Agriculture- Closing the gender gap for development
    • 6. Approach must be subtle• A man who consults his wife on decisions appears weak• A husband and wife should decide together on how to spend money• Women should not be harassed, even if they are walking in a public place by themselves• Men can take care of children just as well as women can• It is embarrassing for a man to help his wife with household work• Women are inferior to men in the creator’s eyes• A woman’s greatest happiness in life comes from being a good mother and wife
    • 7. CCAFs is directly funding two WorldFish projects in the BangladeshDelta Landscape which more directly address gender issues; TheSmart Farm• Fish/rice systems • Vertical horticulture
    • 8. CCAFs is directly funding two WorldFish projects in theBangladesh Delta Landscape which more directly addressgender issues; Cage Aquaculture
    • 9. More ‘general’ tactics of Nobo Jibon withmore specific tech innovations