American International Journal of Social Science

ISSN 2325-4149(Print), ISSN 2325-4165(Online) DIO: 10.30845/aijss

Reaching Rural Women; Understanding the Term Gender Sensitivity in Agricultural Extension
Benson, A.; Jafry, T.

Considering the high percentage of female farmers involved in Indian agriculture as key agri-food stakeholders, the extension system has traditionally overlooked their specific farming needs. In India, the transformation of agricultural extension has been strongly influenced by the changing international and national economic, political and social climates. The Indian government has initiated moves toward mainstreaming gender concerns into agricultural extension delivery, but this will be hard to achieve unless there is an improved understanding of how gender issues can be identified and effectively incorporated into agricultural extension programmes and projects. This study draws on data from a range of public, private and non-government organisations involved in extension delivery as well as private sector companies and the NGO sector. It examines the perceptions of terms such as gender within the institutional framework surrounding agricultural extension delivery and also seeks to identify factors which contribute to barriers which constrain the implementation of gender equitable extension. There was a considerable variability in understanding of how terms such as gender is interpreted and used in extension delivery and this could be considered as a key problem in implementing gender-based programmes and projects. Social customs imposed the greatest barriers to achieving gender equity and education and training from women’s empowerment was identified as the main suggestion to removing this barrier. Unless the types of problems related to these underlying inconsistencies are tackled then changes at policy level will meet with little success. As a consequence the overarching goal of empowering women as key agri-food stakeholders in the future and to enable them to adapt their practices in line with current changing climates remains futile.

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