Transforming gender constraints in the agricultural sector: The potential of social protection programmes
This article in the Global Food Security Journal discusses role of social protection programming design and implementation to ensure gender equality in food security and agricultural productivity. Gender inequality continues to constrain women’s opportunities in the agricultural sector, both in terms of achieving food security and increasing agricultural productivity. However, investment in gender-responsive programming which promotes women’s empowerment can help to overcome these constraints. Results show that a large part of social protection programming remains focused on supporting women’s domestic and care roles and responsibilities. They also continue to reach women primarily as consumers and beneficiaries rather than producers. Part of the problem is that cash or in-kind transfers remain too small and/or irregular. They fail recognize the gender norms that limit women’s access to productive inputs and resources, which means that gender-blind programmes too often benefit men only. However, there are also important advances in thoughtful programming which supports more transformative changes in women’s roles as producers. These types of programmes typically recognize the multiple risks and vulnerabilities that women face, both in their reproductive and productive roles. They also aim to overcome these through integrated programming, combining support for basic needs as well as broader empowerment goals. The development of integrated programming that supports not only women’s access to productive resources but also supports women’s agency is therefore vital in future social protection and agricultural programming.