While there has been emphasis on women and gender in African agriculture and policy, there has there been little integration of social relations analysis. Why?
FAC’s gender e-debate (2 – 20 May 2011) drew on insights about household gender relations, including conjugal relations, arising from feminist and other research relevant to ongoing debates about the potential of small (family?) farms to contribute to increasing food supplies in sub-Saharan Africa
In much gender and agriculture literature, these small farm households are framed as bounded institutions within which individual interests dominate, husbands and wives hold separate purses, and marriage is a contract legitimising the exploitation of women.
The two FAC papers that accompanied the call for contributions to this e-debate argue for an alternative framing based on a social relations analysis. The main question being debated was why, in spite of general agreement about the value of integrating social relations analysis into policy thinking, this has not yet happened.
Contributions were invited to address four questions that raised possible policy issues around the acceptance of a more complex framing of rural women, and of rural households and decision-making within these. In the run-up to the debate the moderator made contact with numerous individuals from Africa and elsewhere who are actively involved in relevant research. The debate was also advertised through a number of development and gender-related networks and websites.
While the debate itself raised few comments, the site was visited by over a hundred viewers and each of the two attached gender FAC documents were downloaded over 150 times. We also received numerous e-mails and are now engaged in discussions about future research. The questions and comments are detailed on the pages below.