3 Gender and policy.
3.1. Public policy has a key role to play in promoting gender-inclusive growth and poverty reduction. In its report for the Beijing Conference, the World Bank argued that the causes of gender inequality are complex and are linked to intra-household decisionmaking. Intra-household resource allocation is influenced by market signals and institutional norms that do not capture the full benefits to society of investing in women. It is therefore essential that public policies work to compensate for market failures in the area of gender equality (World Bank 1995b). This chapter outlines a priority policy agenda to promote gender-responsive growth and poverty reduction in SSA.
3.2. The principal issues and policy implications that emerge from the analysis presented in this report are summarized in Table 3.1. The strategy for priority actions builds on the following key conclusions:
* persistent gender inequality in access to and control of assets directly and indirectly limits economic growth in SSA;
* both men and women play substantial roles in SSA economies, but they are not equally distributed across the productive sectors, nor are they equally remunerated for their labor;
* the market and the household economies coexist and are interdependent; this interdependence brings to light short-term inter-sectoral and inter-generational trade-offs within poor asset- and labor-constrained households, e.g., between growth and human development; and
* the poor in general, and poor women in particular, do not have a voice in decision-making, and their different needs and constraints do not therefore inform public policy choices and priorities.
II. Synergy and Trade-Offs
3.3. A key insight from gender analysis of poverty in SSA is that there are interconnections, and short-term trade-offs, between and within economic production, child bearing and rearing, and household/community management responsibilities (Box 3.1). These assume particular importance given the competing claims on women's labor time. There are interconnections between rural development and transport (Barwell 1996), between education, health and fertility (Box 2.3), and within the population/agriculture/environment "nexus" (Cleaver and Schreiber 1994). Building on these interconnections can have positive multiplier effects.
3.4. There are trade-offs between different productive activities, between market and household tasks, and between meeting short-term economic and household needs and long-term investment in future capacity and human capital. Failure to minimize or eliminate these trade-offs, as between girls' education and domestic tasks (especially water and fiiel provision), runs the risk of perpetuating poverty while undermining the effectiveness and impact of interventions designed to reduce poverty. Consequently, a key challenge for public policy is to undertake concurrent actions across a range of sectors which explicitly minimize these trade-offs and raise labor productivity.
Box 3.1: Building on Synergy Women's triple responsibility--child bearing and rearing, household management, and productive activities--and the increasing pressures on their time and energy have important consequences for human resource development, agricultural productivity, and environmental sustainability. In many areas, 50 percent or more of all farms are managed by women--yet traditional and legal constraints remain severe. Fuelwood and water are becoming increasingly scarce and more time is required to obtain them. Efforts to intensify agriculture, conserve natural resources, and reduce population growth will have to be focused to a significant extent on women. These efforts will have to aim primarily at reducing women's severe time constraints; lowering the barriers to women's access to land, credit, and extension advice; introduciag technologies usable by and beneficial to women; and upgrading women's educational standards and skills. Source: Cleaver and Schreiber 1994.
III. A Strategic Agenda
3 .5. This report identifies five interconnected strategic areas for priority public policy interventions, which are summarized in Table 3.2. Investment in girls' education is paramount. Taking this as a given, the report emphasizes that other, concurrent, investments in the household economy are necessary, and of equally high priority, if the full benefits of investments in female education are to be realized. The same reasoning applies to investment in basic and reproductive health. (1) The priority given to specific actions within these strategic areas will vary according to different country circumstances. It will be necessary to build on local knowledge, and undertake pro-active (gender-inclusive) participation to define specific priorities and to articulate how these priorities can be implemented.
A. Promoting Participation of Poor Women and Men
3.6. There is an important role for public policy in reaching out to the poor, and especially in building up women's skills and capabilities to reduce what Whitehead terms their "political deficit" (Whitehead 1998). Promotion of participation requires a corresponding commitment to make available the resources needed to build up women's long-term capacities to make themselves heard. (2)
3.7. A promising approach, related to economic management and priority-setting, is the development of "women's budgets," a process described more fully in Annex 1, where Africa has led the way. This would enable public spending priorities to focus on productivity-enhancing investment in rural infrastructure and labor-saving technologies (see Section B below) which can help to reduce the time women spend in collecting water and fuelwood, and in food preparation and processing.
3.8. Donors and SSA countries interested in developing women's budgets can use a number of strategies, including the following:
* Allocating donor funds in support of research and data gathering to initiate women's budget programs.
* Working with national statistical offices in better identifying disadvantaged groups, measuring the extent of disadvantage and providing gender-disaggregated information (as well as urban/rural, racial, income-level, and regional) which allow monitoring of progress (see Section D below).
* Identifying stakeholders and establishing coalitions/national task forces among researchers, NGOs and parliamentarians in launching a women's budget initiative in a country.
* Employing one or more of the six research tools (Box 3.2) for integrating gender into public expenditure policies effectively by initiating collaboration between the Ministry of Finance, Office of the Status of Women or Ministry of Women's Affairs, National Statistics Office, and the major spending Ministries in the economic and social sectors.
* A Using the popular versions of the research results from the South African women's budget initiative, such as Hurt and Budlender 1998, to inform stakeholders about such initiatives.
Box 3.2: Tools to Engender National Budgets Six tools and techniques have been identified to fill information gaps. See Annex 1. * Gender-disaggregated beneficiary assessments are used to assess the views of women and men as potential beneficiaries of public expenditure on how far current forms of service delivery meet their needs. Gender-disaggregated public expenditure incidence analysis looks into the extent to which men and women, girls and boys, benefit from expenditure on publicly provided services. * Gender-disaggregated policy evaluations of public expenditure evaluates the policies that underlie budget appropriations in terms of their likely impact on women and men. * Gender-aware budget statements show the expected implications for gender inequality of the expenditure estimates in total and by Ministry. * Gender-disaggregated analysis of interactions between financial and time budgets makes visible the implications of the national budget for household time budgets, to reveal the macroeconomic implications of unpaid work in social reproduction. * Gender-aware medium-term economic policy scenarios produce a policy framework which recognizes mat women and men participate in economic activity in different ways, contribute in different ways to macroeconomic outcomes, and experience different costs and benefits from macroeconomic policies. Source: Elson 1997. Further information on these tools is in Elson 1996, Demery 1996, and Esim 1995.
B. Reducing the Burden of Domestic Work: Giving Priority to Investments in Water, Labor-Saving Technology, and Transport Services
3.9. Public policy can have a significant impact on the heavy time burden of domestic work. Infrastructure provision for clean and accessible water supply is especially important, in view of its multiple benefits. Labor-saving domestic technology relating to food processing is likely to have a greater immediate impact in raising the productivity and reducing the time constraints of many women. The readiness of women to use grinding mills in West Africa reflects the enormous burden of food preparation (Whitehead 1998). There is a potential multiplier effect on women's employment, in that it can produce work for other women in the processed food sector. Improved domestic technologies may enable women who have income-generating activities to avoid passing the time costs of domestic work on to daughters.
3.10. Priority is given to investment in assets which raise productivity and minimize trade-offs, by addressing time constraints directly. Key interventions are:
* Water and sanitation: substantially raise public investment, in partnership with the private sector.
* Labor-saving technology: develop and make accessible labor-saving technology to reduce the time burden of household tasks, with particular emphasis on food processing and transformation technologies.
* Transport: design sectoral interventions around the different needs of men and women, with attention to improving women's access to transport services (including intermediate means of transport), commensurate with their load-carrying responsibilities.
C. Support Rural Livelihood Strategies and Subsistence Agriculture
3.11. Agricultural policy, research, and extension need to support the livelihood strategies of smallholder households. The key policy priority is to break though the asset poverty of women in smallholder households. The evidence that women do not take up opportunities in farming because of severe resource constraints is strong. Agricultural institutions, notably research, extension services, and institutions providing credit, need to treat women fanners as priority clients, and develop outreach systems to them. The right mix of assets, including land, labor, and financial services, is critical to ensure that women are not "investment poor" (Reardon and Vosti 1995). The process of asset acquisition will require interventions: (i) at the policy level to facilitate equitable access to resources and delivery systems; and (ii) at the cultural and systemic level to understand how resource allocation decisions are made and how they can be changed.
3.12. Access to financial services will enable women to begin a virtuous circle of investing in inputs, to increase their farming incomes, which can be reinvested. Women will likely use this cash to get non-household labor. It is this initial step toward more secure incomes that will enable women to overcome the labor constraints they currently face within existing household labor allocations. It will also increase their autonomy--an important element in addressing unequal power relations within the household.
Box 3.3: Broad Elements of a Strategy for Sustainable Poverty Reduction Equitable ... growth, accompanied by broad-based investment in basic health, education, and infrastructure, would have to be the pillars of any poverty reduction strategy. In order to encourage growth, macroeconomic stability is necessary, as is agricultural development and private sector development. Throughout--in health, education and agriculture, for example--reducing gender inequities is crucial. Studies of recently successful development have confirmed these broad elements of the development agenda, but have also emphasized the importance of the capacity of a nation to manage its affairs in an internal and external environment that is uncertain and volatile. Finally, environmental sustainability and the population dimension have now been brought firmly into the development agenda. Source: World Bank 1995a.
3.13. Agricultural growth is indispensable for poverty reduction in SSA (Box 3.3). The food sectors, including production, processing, transport, and marketing--where women predominate--will have the greatest impact on women's income earning, household welfare, and food security. Key actions are:
* Reverse the neglect of the food crop sector, where there is an urgent need for more women-focused integrated packages, including research, extension, and technology development.
* A Address the policy and operational implications of the different time, technology, and seasonal constraints facing men and women farmers (see Annex 2 for evidence of this in Zambia).
* Financial Services: Support for and development of innovative non-bank financial institutions is critical to increasing women's effective access to appropriate financial services, commensurate with their structural economic role. To be responsive to the needs of low-income women, financial services need to provide an informal banking atmosphere; small, short-term loans; non-traditional collateral requirements; simple application procedures with rapid turnaround; flexible loan requirements; ownership and mutual accountability; convenient mechanisms for small savings accounts; and participatory management of institutions (Duggleby 1995). While there is much focus on micro-credit, insufficient attention has been given to the broader policy environment of the financial sector and to the potential for gender-inclusive financial sector reforms.
D. Gender in Statistics, National Accounts, and in Poverty Analysis and Monitoring
3.14. Statistics and indicators on the situation of women and men in all spheres of society are an essential tool in promoting equality. Gender statistics have an essential role in the elimination of stereotypes, in the formulation of policies, and in monitoring progress toward full equality. The production of adequate gender statistics concerns the entire official statistical system. It also implies the development and improvements of concepts, definitions, classifications, and methods (Hedman et al. 1996). Key actions to improve gender statistics and data are:
* Integration of intra-household and gender modules in statistical surveys and analysis.
* Development of women's budgets and integration of gender issues into national budget formulation and monitoring, along the lines of the South Africa model. Use of gender-based benefit incidence analysis of public expenditures.
* Inclusion of the household sector (care economy) and home-based work in SNA (satellite accounts).
* To address the widespread problem of gender-based violence, data should be collected on the health and social costs of domestic violence, sexual assault and abuse, including estimates of the cost of emergency services, indirect costs of productivity losses, and costs associated with increased utilization of primary care services.
3.15. Better integrating women's unpaid work in the form of subsistence production, domestic and reproductive work into national policies of the region could be achieved by undertaking a number of steps. Some of these are (Perucci 1997):
* Determining specific policies for advocacy, which are linked to unpaid work.
* Formulating core operational definitions on terms such as paid vs. unpaid and market vs. nonmarket.
* Sensitizing policy makers, decision makers and enumerators to the significance and policy implications of unpaid work.
* A Conducting capacity development of national statisticians in methods to measure unpaid work through training and workshops.
* Developing policy-oriented questionnaires and training manuals for data collection and analysis on unpaid work.
C. Mark Blackden
in collaboration with the Poverty and Social Policy Working Group of the Special Program of Assistance for Africa
(1) There is an extensive literature on necessary actions in education (e.g., FAWE 1997, Odaga and Heneveld 1995, Tietjen 1997), as there is for the need to invest in basic and reproductive health (World Bank 1994a; Garbus 1998).
(2) The NGOs and civil society groups with whom this report was discussed all emphasized women's capacity-building and functional literacy as pre-requisites for effective participation (Annex 5).
Table 3.1: Principal Issues, Policy Implications, and Directions for Policy Principal Issues Policy Implications * gender inequality * gender inequality directly and persists in access to and indirectly limits economic growth control of economically in SSA productive assets necessary for growth * women's greater vulnerability and risk aversion * equity issue in its own right * men and women both have * "investment poverty" greater for different structural roles women (Reardon/Vosti) in SSA economies * importance of political * men and women are not commitment to gender equality evenly distributed across economic sectors * "sectoral growth patterns make different demands on men's and women's labor and have different implications for the gender division of labor and income" (D. Elson) * the "market" and * risk of short-term inter-sectoral "household" economies co- and inter-generational trade-offs exist and are within poor asset- and labor- interdependent constrained households, e.g., between growth (raising incomes) * there is considerable and human develop-ment scope for raising labor (investing in education) productivity in both the market and household * time constraints ("double economies workday of women") * need for balanced investment in both market and household economies ("externalities") * data issues, including * "incomplete" picture of total the "invisibility" of much productive activity masks dynamic of women's work, limit interactions and potential for analysis and understanding synergy across sectors of gender/poverty interactions * female-headed households are not necessarily poorer * complexity of household structures and relations * larger households are also not limits household-level necessarily poorer analysis in poverty monitoring and trend analysis. Principal Issues Directions for Policy * gender inequality * greater "voice" for women in persists in access to and decision-making at all levels control of economically productive assets * female education and literacy, necessary for growth skills training * invest in directly productive assets for women: financial services, agricultural technology and inputs * address sustainable land ownership/use rights for women as part of legal reform * men and women both have * target sectors for growth and different structural roles strengthening productivity where in SSA economies poor women work: ensure greater policy attention to "non-traded" * men and women are not sectors, notably subsistence evenly distributed across agriculture and the urban informal economic sectors sector * the "market" and * prioritize sectoral investment to "household" economies co- raise productivity: exist and are interdependent * water supply/sanitation * there is considerable * labor-saving technologies, focused scope for raising labor on food processing and productivity in both the transformation market and household economies * intermediate means of transport * domestic energy * data issues, including * include non-SNA work in country the "invisibility" of much analysis of women's work, limit analysis and understanding * develop country-specific time of gender/poverty budgets for men and women interactions * develop women's budget * complexity of household initiatives (SA model) structures and relations limits household-level * benefit incidence analysis of analysis in poverty public expenditures monitoring and trend analysis. * gender disaggregation of poverty data and analysis Table 3.2 Matrix of Key Policy Actions Policy Area Key Actions * pro-active participation * political leadership and of poor women and men in commitment to gender equality defining and implementing poverty reduction policies * implement "women's budget initiatives" along the lines of the South Africa model * capacity-building--focus on literacy, skills development for community-based organizations * gender awareness raising and capacity building of policy makers and implementers * development of instruments to reduce gender inequalities * raise labor productivity * investment in the household in the household economy by economy by giving much reducing the time burden of greater priority to investments domestic work; this will to reduce the time burden of have a positive impact on domestic work: water supply concurrent investment in and sanitation, labor-saving education and health technology, domestic energy, intermediate means of transport, promoting greater male-female balance in undertaking domestic work * enhancing access of poor women and men to productive assets such as land, credit, information, and services * primary education for all * sustain investment in basic education and health services * functional literacy for women * basic and reproductive health services * support rural livelihood * prioritize the food ("non- strategies and raise labor traded") sector with focus on productivity in this sector food security at the household level in agricultural research and extension, and in agricultural sector programs (greater balance with export promotion) * facilitate the access of poor women and men to production technology and to appropriate financial services * engendering statistics * gender-inclusive law reform through inclusion of unpaid with focus on enhancing and domestic work in women's land security and national accounts, and in property rights poverty monitoring and analysis. * gender modules in household surveys * inclusion of the household economy in the system of national accounts (SNA) * country-specific time budgets Policy Area Principal Actors * pro-active participation * Government leadership of poor women and men in defining and implementing * Donors: CAS dialogue poverty reduction policies * NGO/Government/Donor partnerships * NGOs, grassroots management training (GMT) * raise labor productivity * Government--policy focus in the household economy by reducing the time burden of * Donors: strategic sectors and domestic work; this will financing have a positive impact on concurrent investment in * Community development education and health organizations--focus on community- and household- level infrastructure * primary education for all * Government and Donors * Partnerships with private * functional literacy for sector women * NGOs/civil society * basic and reproductive health services * Ministries of Agriculture * support rural livelihood * Donor partnerships strategies and raise labor productivity in this sector * NGOs/CBOs * Country and donor institutions engaged in technology development and dissemination * judicial system/customary law * banking system, formal and informal financial * engendering statistics institutions through inclusion of unpaid and domestic work in national accounts, and in poverty monitoring and analysis. * National Statistical Offices in partnership with donors * UN system-wide reforms of SNA * local research institutes Policy Area Main Instruments * pro-active participation * policy statements, PFP, public of poor women and men in expenditures/budget process defining and implementing poverty reduction policies * implementation of Africa Platform, Beijing, Cairo conference commitments, CEDAW * "participatory" CAS * "women's budgets" * GMT programs * raise labor productivity * SIPs in water/sanitation, in the household economy by transport, energy sectors reducing the time burden of domestic work; this will * priority focus in CAS have a positive impact on concurrent investment in * Public Expenditure Reviews education and health * legal/regulatory reform programs * land reform * primary education for all * public expenditure allocations * CAS * functional literacy for women * SIPs in human resource sectors * basic and reproductive health services * CAS * support rural livelihood * Agriculture SIPs strategies and raise labor productivity in this sector * financial sector reform and (micro-) credit programs * public expenditure review and reforms * law reform programs * land reform programs * engendering statistics through inclusion of unpaid and domestic work in national accounts, and in poverty monitoring and analysis. * poverty monitoring systems * develop and apply gender modules in next round of SSA household surveys * benefit-incidence analysis of public expenditure
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||Gender Growth and Poverty Reduction: Special Program of Assistance for Africa, 1998 Status Report on Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa|
|Publication:||Gender, Growth and Poverty Reduction|
|Date:||Mar 1, 1999|
|Previous Article:||2 Gender and poverty.|