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Source: Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), Kaiser Women's Health Survey, 2001. ... Women's Changing Health Needs, by Age, 1998 ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Women

Womens Status and the Changing Nature of Rural
Livelihoods in Asia
  • Agnes Quisumbing
  • International Food Policy Research Institute
  • Manila, Philippines
  • 8 August 2007

Diversity and change
  • It is difficult to characterize womens status
    in Asia because womens conditions within Asia
    are very diverse, and they are also changing
  • This presentation
  • Presents a snapshot of womens status in Asia
    based on the World Gender Gap Report 2006
  • Summarizes returns to closing the gender gap in
    terms of reducing child malnutrition, and
    increasing incomes and productivity
  • Identifies three trends in rural livelihoods
  • Based on these trends, discusses appropriate
    policies and interventions to empower women

Contrasts and contradictions
  • Gender Gap Index 2006 (Hausman, Tyson, and Zahidi
    2007) examines the gap between men and women in
    115 countries,in four categories
  • economic participation and opportunity
  • educational attainment
  • health and survival
  • political empowerment
  • Although the Philippines is among top 10
    countries, out of 8 regions, Asia ranks third
    from the bottom overall
  • Lowest performance on the health and survival
  • Second to the lowest in the economic opportunity
    and participation subindex
  • Third from the lowest in the educational
    attainment subindex.

These results driven by countries with large
  • China ranks 114 out of 115 because of sex ratio
    at birth, missing women
  • Bangladesh, India, Pakistan large disparities
    between men and women in all four areas of the
  • Why should we care?
  • Evidence worldwide shows that increasing
    resources controlled by women yields large
    benefits in reducing child malnutrition and
    increasing rural incomes and productivity

Reducing child malnutrition The Asian Enigma
  • Why is South Asias child malnutrition rate so
    much higher than Sub-Saharan Africas, when it
    does so much better with respect to many of the
    long-accepted determinants of child nutritional
    status, such as national income, democracy, food
    supplies, health services, and education?
    (Ramalingaswami et al. 1996)

Child malnutrition and womens status across
Percentage of children under 5
Indicators of womens status
Source Smith et al. 2003
The link between womens status and child
  • Regression analysis shows that womens status has
    a significant, positive effect on childrens
    nutritional status in all three regions.
  • Womens status improves child nutrition because
    women with greater status have better nutritional
    status, are better cared for themselves, and
    provide higher-quality care to their children.
  • Womens status has the most influence where it is
    lowest. The strongest effect is found in South
    Asia followed by Sub-Saharan Africa, and it is
    weakest in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Increasing rural incomes and productivity
  • In Bangladesh, untargeted technology
    dissemination was more likely to benefit men and
    better-off households (Hallman, Lewis, and Begum
    2007). Efforts designed to reach women within
    poor householdssuch as through NGO provision of
    training and credit for vegetable
    improvementachieved greater impacts on poverty.
  • In China, where women-managed households have
    equal access to family labor, quantity and
    quality of land, irrigation, and credit, there is
    no significant difference in plot-level crop
    revenues between men and women-managed farms (de
    Brauw et al. 2007).
  • In the rural Philippines, where girls have higher
    educational attainment than their brothers, they
    are more likely to enter nonagricultural
    occupations and earn higher incomes from
    nonagriculture than from farming (Quisumbing,
    Estudillo, and Otsuka 2004).

Three trends in rural livelihoods
  • Increasing male migration from rural to urban
  • Declining importance of agriculture and growth of
    nonfarm sector
  • Increasing female migration to urban areas (and

Policies to empower women will differ by context
  • Areas of male outmigration
  • Ensure access to land and credit
  • Economic development strategies that encourage
    competitive and efficient markets
  • Female agricultural extension agents to deliver
    technology and information directly to women
  • Areas of declining importance of agriculture
  • Reduce barriers to female participation in
    nonfarm enterprises and nonfarm employment
  • Invest in womens human capital through schooling
    and continuing education programs
  • Access to credit, markets, and information

Policies and context
  • Areas of female outmigration
  • Invest in womens education
  • Encourage competitive and efficient labor markets
  • Invest in infrastructure to enable families to
    maintain social support networks (roads,
    communications, banking)

General policies
  • Extend and strengthen schooling systems in rural
  • Promote competition in non-farm labor markets so
    as to eliminate discrimination against women
  • Reform property rights systems to be more
    equitable towards women
  • Develop agricultural technologies which increase
    the returns to female labor, whether through
    increased demand or increased labor productivity.
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