My response to “Gender” swings back and forth between complete indifference to anger.
There is a status quo on gender and no one is questioning it. At an AgWater Solutions meeting in Zambia in 2010, there were two presentations on gender. Afterwards, I asked people privately about their views. People had strong private views that no one was willing to make public. In the next two slides, I have paraphrased what people said and categorized the different views on gender.
The last one about “keeping my mouth shut” was a view expressed by several older white men but also by more than one black African woman.
Most of the gender research done in the CG system seems to focus on the differences between men and women. That men and women do different things is probably the most obvious and least interesting aspect of gender research. There must be better questions.
Making an issue “cross-cutting” means everyone can ignore it because someone else will look after it. I think the turning point for gender research in the CG system was the Proceedings of the Workshop on Gender and Water in September 1997 at Habarana in Sri Lanka. It’s been downhill ever since. Face it, “mainstreaming” hasn’t worked.
I was hired once to edit a book of papers on gender issues in agriculture. This is an extract. Most of the papers were largely incomprehensible except to a small circle of people who get an intellectual frission from this kind of word play.
Google “gender toolkits”. I got 10,300,000 hits.
Why don’t the “gender specialists” just do it rather than talk about it?
Why don’t the “gender specialists” just do it rather than talk about it?
Gender is one of the basic organizing principles of society. You can’t mess about with gender and not make value judgments. To pretend otherwise is dangerous.
A man looks at gender issues in agricultural development
I’m of two minds aboutgender.Sometimes I could care lessand other times the wholething makes me really angry.Why angry?
You can’t do good science if people won’t question status quo.
A conspiracy of silence surrounds gender issues.At a project meeting in Zambia in 2010, there were two presentationson gender. Afterwards, I asked people privately about their views.People had strong private views they were not willing to make public.In the next two slides, I have paraphrased what people said andcategorized the different views on gender.
• Gender research is not relevant. We are selling a product(treadle pumps). Whether men or women buy doesn’t matter. Strong market view• What’s important is whether or not there is sufficient incometo the household. It doesn’t matter who earns as long asexpenditures benefit the family unit.• It’s sufficient for us to deliver water to the village. That hasbenefits for both men and women.• Anything that helps us understand our customers better ispotentially useful. For example, it might be useful to know how Soft marketwomen influence purchase decisions. view• We should recognize that our technologies and ourinterventions can have the unintended consequence ofincreasing women’s workloads and should be careful to avoidthat.• Gender is something we need to be aware of but it’s not our Cautious viewcore business. We would work with local NGOs on genderissues.• Sometimes I think there is too much emphasis on gender. Evenwithin the Foundation.
The research is interesting but I struggle to see Spell it out for mehow to apply it. There is lots of interesting viewdata. What do I do with it?The best thing we can do for women is get Better approachesmore girls into school and keep them there viewlonger. That and micro credit for women’s self-help groups.The treadle pump is a gendered technology. In GenderedIndia it is always the man you will see on the technology viewtreadle pump. I learned a long time ago to keep my mouth I’ll keep my views shut when people talk about gender. to myself view
I learned a long time ago to keep my mouth I’ll keep my viewsshut when people talk about gender. to myself view Yes, this was a view expressed by some older white men. It was also a view expressed by some black African women.
Are we asking the right questions? This is the standard big question: What are the differences between men and women?That men and women do different things isprobably the most obvious and least interestingaspect of gender research.There must be better questions.
Did gender research take a wrong turn? Gender mainstreaming was adopted to address the IWMI’s ownissue “cross-cutting” means everyone Making an history is telling: when such as perceived failure of previous strategies there was specific genderprojects someonewas significant can ignore it because to bring about output and women-specific research, there else will look debate. Inthinkearlystatus. Theredecision was after it. I the the 2000s, the was gender changes in women‟s turning point for widespread taken to make the failure of women-specific projects consensusin the CG system waswhich became on research that it cross-cutting, the Workshop “cutting without the cross”. to their marginalization. in the 1970s and 80s in September 1997 at Gender and Water was due Gender mainstreaming was designed to overcome Habarana in Sri Lanka. this marginalization and to bring gender equality issues into the core of development activities. It’s been downhill ever since.
Does academic debate muddy the waters? This is typical of the discourse: This type of ecofeminism has been criticised for promoting an essentialism that locks women into particular roles and relationships associated with their biology. While spiritual ecofeminists are wont to look to religio-cultural traditions that lie outside the Christian west and which stress the imminence of the divine, particularly the worship of the Goddess including various expressions of „Mother Earth‟, as evidence for the existence of matriarchal religion, this reasoning has been challenged. Moreover, some critics have argued that spiritual ecofeminism is actually a reflection of „white‟ feminist religiosity: the confluence of a romanticised post-materialist environmentalism with modern styles of „deregulated‟ feminist spirituality (Smith, 1997). Please translate into plain English.
Do we have enough toolkits yet? “In hindsight I agree that being kept busy with toolkits or gender performance indicators distracted, in the end, from .communicating the point in the most convincing way ….” BVK
SoundsCan research be value free? goodLet’s look at Gender Mainstreaming: Making it so far.Happen. International Center for Research onWomen. Mehra, Rekha and Geeta Rao Gupta. 2006.6. An Alternate ApproachRefocusing gender mainstreaming on operations,based on the experiences cited above, requiresadopting a quite different approach from the oneemployed so far.
Can research be value free? The conclusions: “It is important to get results on the ground because such success is motivating and helps to lower organization resistance.” “Once an opportunity for gender mainstreaming in operations has been identified, it is important to have a systematic and sustained approach to allocate sufficient financial resources, employ gender expertise and show results.” “An instrumental approach that focuses on operations can yield intrinsic benefits for women.” How exactly is this new of alternative in any way?
If we could survive without a wife, citizens of Rome, all of us would do without that nuisance.” So proclaimed the Roman general, statesman, and censor Quintus Caecilius Metellus Can research be free of context? Gender is one of the basic organizing principles of society. You can’t mess about with gender and not make value judgments. To pretend otherwise is dangerous. Here is a context: Another context: Across the globe, people are choosing to have fewer children or none at all. Governments are desperate to halt the trend, but their influence seems to stop at the bedroom door. Are some societies destined to become extinct? Hardly. Its more likely that conservatives will inherit the Earth. Like it or not, a growing proportion of the next generation will be born into families who believe that father knows best.
Are we challenging basic assumptions?“While women constitute aconsiderable portion of the farmdecision makers in many parts of theworld, they continue to be excludedfrom irrigation decision makingbodies.” Maybe women don’t want to be “involved” in some things?
Cecile Jackson was an early proponent of theconcept of „agency‟ in the study of women‟s roles,and one of the few who continue to treat women as,“fully acting subjects and as actors whosepreferences and action are capable of subvertingboth progressive and regressive social change.”From: Gender, irrigation and environment: Arguing for agency. 1997. In Gender Analysis andReform of Irrigation Management: Concepts, Cases, and Gaps in Knowledge. Proceedings ofthe Workshop on Gender and Water, 15-19 September, 1997, Habarana, Sri Lanka. Merrey, D.and Shirish Baviskar (eds.). IWMI. Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Yes, agency again is quite an ‘oldtopic’ in social science but I guessit got dropped out of thedevelopment literature. KS
“In short, women themselves absorb andtransmit misogynistic values, just as mendo. This is not a tidy world of tyrannicalmen and victimized women, but a messierreality of oppressive social customsadhered to by men and women alike.”From: Half the Sky by Written by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wu Dunn,Random House Inc.
Mainstreaming gender and equity in CPR5 The inclusion of gender as a key analytical variable is a good science. It will provide more detailed knowledge and insights into farming Same systems and practices, technology adoption rates, extension methods, and lead to the development of agricultural policies that old will be of equal benefit to male and female farmers, fishers and pastoralists.rhetoric. It has long been recognized that women are central actors in agricultural production but that most have unequal access to land, technology, credit, education and other resources, due to prevailing cultural norms, which are often reinforced by legal instruments. Figure 3.1 illustrates five key areas of agricultural research that can be, and usually are, strongly impacted by gender. Men and women have different levels of access to all of these resources but there are also big differences among men and among women depending on their social class, caste, wealth, level of education. Figure 3.1 Gender differentials in rural livelihoods CRP5 recognizes that a rethinking of approaches is necessary to ensure that the rural poor gain adequate access to and input into the development of science and technology-based applications aimed at making their work easier. Women farmers should be seen as the
Why don’t we try something completely different?
• Take a close look at our assumptions about the role of gender inagriculture. Are we looking at “a tidy world of tyrannical men andvictimized women”? Does it follow that women have no influencebecause they don‟t hold positions in formal water managementmechanisms? What do we know about the ways women exert theirinfluence?• How do men and women together absorb and transmitmisogynistic values? How can men and women together rewrite therules?•Times have changed. Perhaps it is time to revisit women-specificprojects rather than making gender “in addition to…”.
•Take a position on gender. Gender is a fundamental structuringprinciple of society. We cannot address gender issues withoutaffecting cultural change. We cannot do anything worthwhile bymaintaining a pseudo-objective, value free “scientific” position.•Situate our research in the context of historical and currentglobal movements in feminism. Look at the work of IndonesianIslamic scholar Nasaruddin Umar. Her work is reported to be, “atthe forefront of a reform movement from within Islam that aims atgiving women equal status.” Or Mai Yamani, author of Feminismand Islam, or scores of other non-western feminist writers.
Approach NGOs, foundations, women‟s groups, and ask”“We have all this data. Is there anything here that you can use?“We are doing all these research projects? What data could wecollect that would be useful to you?