Women participate extensively in the household farming, but because contracts are often made with their male counterparts, and their efforts are invisible, they do not have equal access to information, training, credit, and revenues, often to the detriment of the farm, household income, and their own empowerment. Meanwhile, cooperatives and their leadership structures may reflect the same social norms that favour men’s representation and voice over women’s.
Extension services tend to be biased toward men, in part due to the belief that men are decision-makers, in part because of a (often) false assumption that men will share knowledge with other members of the household, and in part simply because the male ‘head of household’ may write his name and phone number on the farmer registration form or contract.
One of the first things to address is getting women to the table. Potential solutions include joint registration or contracting of male and female household leads; mobilizing and supporting women’s groups, establishing participating quotas for women in cooperative decision-making organs, and establishing women’s committees within cooperatives.