Examining Pathways Towards Engendered Change | Gender

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Despite abundant evidence about their importance, unpaid care work and unequal division of labour between women and men are largely invisible in development policy and programmes.
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    EXAMINING PATHWAYS TOWARDS ENGENDERED CHANGE INVOLVING MEN AND WOMEN IN CARE WORK IN WEST NILE, UGANDA   Participants present challenges that women traders face. During pregnancy the business stops. Participatory gender review by Poroporo, in Yumbe, Uganda. Photo: Thies Reemer, 2013  2  OXFAM INTERNATIONAL © Oxfam International July 2015 This case study was written by Thies Reemer, bringing together primary data from studies and reports by Josephine Kasande, Okaya John Bosco from CEFORD, and Maggie Makanza and Janet Biira. The author is grateful for their valuable contributions. The project studied is part of Oxfam Novib‟s WEMAN  programme, co-funded by IFAD. WEMAN stands for Women‟s Empowerment Mainstreaming and Networking, for gender justice in economic development. It is a multi-country programme of Oxfam Novib. www.oxfamnovib.nl/weman This paper is supported by Oxfam‟s WE-CARE   (Women‟s Economic Empowerment and Care) initiative which is funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation through the “WE -CARE: building evidence for influencing change” project. WE -CARE is Oxfam‟s multi -country initiative that aims to address the heavy and unequal responsibilities for housework and care that women face in all countries. www.oxfam.org.uk/care     3  OXFAM INTERNATIONAL SUMMARY Despite abundant evidence about their importance, unpaid care work and unequal division of labour between women and men are largely invisible in development policy and programmes. 1  This case study of a value chain development (VCD) programme in Uganda argues that it is  possible to change gender norms and relations that have existed for generations, and that this improves development outcomes significantly  –  but it takes deliberate effort and planning. INTRODUCTION Development policy and practice has long considered caring for children, the sick and the elderly to be the natural responsibility of women 2 . Investing in women is therefore seen as a way to create more family welfare. However, the costs of providing care  –  which fall disproportionately on women  –  are not always considered. These costs include forgone opportunities for education, employment, earnings, political participation and leisure among others. When projects aim to empower women, the focus is often on developing their business skills and access to finance. Without also addressing the underlying causes of unequal division of labour, however, this can result in heavier workloads on women, increased stress and diminished health 3 . There is a risk of increasing rather than decreasing women's workload, with adverse effects on children, elderly and the sick. Supporting women to develop businesses often has other unintended consequences. Daughters may be withdrawn from school to assist their mothers with unpaid care work. Men may reduce their financial support to the household, leaving it up to women to use their increased income to pay the school fees and the hospital bills. Or men may take over the businesses developed by women as soon as they become profitable 4 .  Another common approach is to reduce the drudgery tasks of women in marginalised communities  –  tasks such as fetching water and firewood  –  through technological solutions such as fuel saving stoves and boreholes. While important, these address only the symptoms of why the main responsibility falls on women, not root causes such as social and gender norms, beliefs and values. Efforts to get these root causes into development agendas and governments‟ economic policy 5  often founder on the perception that it is not up to development agencies to change culture or gender roles, or that the responsibility lies with other government departments. Value chain development (VCD) programmes tend to focus on crops, infrastructure and technologies rather than on the dynamics of interpersonal relationships. The lack of effective strategies to change gender norms, attitudes and behaviour limits their impact. This case 6  of the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) explores how can we move towards programmes that value the importance of care work, and consciously change the norms and gender relations that underpin the unequal division of labour between women and men. CHANGING NORMS AND BEHAVIOUR: WEST NILE, UGANDA Under Oxfam‟s WEMAN program me 7 , Poroporo Multipurpose Group (“Poroporo”) –  a farmers ‟  association  –  combined agricultural livelihoods and market development with a gender transformative approach. Together with local NGO CEFORD, they adapted the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) 8  to their local context. Context and Gender Norms Poroporo is located in Yumbe District, near the borders with South Sudan and DR Congo. It is a vulnerable region because rainfall is low and soils are over cultivated due to population pressure. Most farmers are trapped in low-value subsistence production, buying few inputs and selling only limited quantities. Women play a major role in production, but men own the land and everything that is harvested from it. Women typically receive only a small percentage of profits and hardly have any decision making power. There are often conflicts in the household about what to sell and what to keep as food for the family. When crops are sold, women carry them to local markets on their heads. Bulk buyers exist, and would pay higher prices, but crops need to be delivered to them on bicycle or motorbike  –  and gender norms dictate that women cannot ride bicycles, as they cannot wear trousers. Women also earn petty cash from weeding on other farms, though they are paid half of what men can earn for the same work; land owners claim “ women come with their babies to the garden and waste time breastfeeding ” .  4  OXFAM INTERNATIONAL  Aletti Kubra, one of the group members and co-wife in a polygamous household, said that she and the other women in this household would spend from 6am to 11pm fetching water, preparing lunch for the children, working on far away farms and looking for food (cassava, sweet potatoes) and firewood. Nearby fields were controlled by their husbands to grow tobacco for sale. Photo: CEFORD, 2013 War has influenced attitudes and social norms. While the taboo on men doing “women‟s work”  remains , the taboo on women doing “men‟s work”    –  principally, heavy manual labour in the fields  –  began to break down when many men migrated to  join the army or rebel groups from the 1970s to 1990s. As they returned home to find women doing both domestic and production work, many men just sat around. Some returned disabled or traumatised , adding to women‟s care work. This situation creates difficulties for women as well as men. Some men who returned from the war to find their traditional roles taken over by women have found it difficult to fit into society. Some men feel burdened by the responsibility of being the decision-making head of the household and by p eer pressure to “behave as a man”.  Women face a disproportionate workload and are held responsible for family welfare, but at the same time have no decision making power over expenditures. Even for basic healthcare they need permission from men to spend money. This is why many women have secret savings. Before the introduction of GALS in 2011, gender norms were reflected in statements such as:  A strong man should not be seen doing women‟s tasks. It is   “ lazy ”  and “ time wasting ” , and not work. Only women have the “ soft ”  hands to carry water in a pot on the head. Men‟s “ tough ” hands would break the pot.  A man who sweeps the compound, fetches water or cooks is “ cursed ” . Such a man will never hunt an animal or have children. “W omen come with nothing and so own nothing ”, reflecting the custom of men paying “ bride price ”  to their in-laws on marriage. “  Anything called a machine is too hard for women” . For women in this polygamous community, if a man tried to do „her‟ work it was proof that she was “ not good enough ”  or that soon he was about to marry a second wife. Fearing this, many women worked very hard. The reasons most men gave for marrying another woman were to “produce boys” or to help the first wife with work. Intervention Prior initiatives by NGOs and the local government to raise awareness about women‟s economic rights mainly targeted women only, and lacked elements of personal analysis or follow-up. In 2009, Oxfam Novib involved CEFORD in GALS training, and from the end of 2011 the full GALS methodology was carried out, in the context of a three-year, multi-country project co-funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Unlike conventional approaches to VCD, the intervention took a livelihoods perspective and included non-commercial activities throughout. Unequal division of labour and unrewarded care work became a priority in the “life journey”  of women and men, a process of analysis and action planning with personal visions for change. Such visions included: - Women and men sharing productive, domestic and care work, to produce enough for both consumption and sale; - Joint decision making about household expenditures, so women see a return from their work and men spend less on alcohol; - Women having secure access to land, so male in-laws cannot grab the land if their husband dies. “A man needs to marry another woman to help the first wife”    “A man who cooks is cursed and will never have children”   
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