Ownership is a term often used in research to assess farmer empowerment in agriculture, particularly as it relates to women’s access to resources and their power over the benefits their work generates. However, it is necessary to understand what the term ‘ownership’ implies, especially from women’s point of view, and how the meaning attached to this concept influences food security.
For instance, OXFAM report that only 18% of rural women in Nicaragua own land, while the remaining 82% must pay rent on the land they farm. Land ownership and organizations such as farmer cooperatives and associations remain largely male-dominated, leaving women with limited access to commercialization, capacity building, farmer exchanges, and participation in the decision-making process.
Considering the evident gender disparity regarding resource ownership, the gender component of the Livestock and Fish program is exploring ways the concept of ownership is perceived by rural women in Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Nicaragua, to determine how this influences gender dynamics and the adoption of practices and technologies which enhance availability and access to food.
The study will focus on ownership of livestock, seeking to advance the current literature on ownership, gender–asset research and community development as a whole. By assessing the different facets of ownership, the study seeks to generate an understanding of how women and men in various contexts perceive the term ‘asset ownership’, to establish the contextual factors which influence this perception and its relationship to food security. Special focus will be placed on the factors which enhance or constrain women’s understanding of asset ownership.
For more information: contact Kathy Colverson at ILRI