Question 2: Trade-offs

What are the likely policy implications of the understanding that men and women take their joint concerns about household survival into consideration when assessing the trade-offs between e.g. investing in land improvements and engaging in off farm opportunities and other interventions?


  • Margaret MkromaAGRA – If indeed joint concerns get considered in assessing such trade-offs, then policies influenced by such understandings should promote and/or support household economic and social wellbeing. It connotes that both men and women enjoy a degree of agency expressed through their individual capacities to influence intra-household decisions. Where such an understanding is wrong or misplaced, then policies influenced by this may risk exacerbating the problems and situations of those with less power to negotiate and or bargain in intra-household decision making.


  • Christine Okali – I wonder if the concern about making matters worse for those with less power if policies are designed with these joint interests in mind is a reflection of poor policy formulation rather than anything else. Is the policy solution always to make separate provisions that somehow (it is not altogether clear how, or the processes involved) will ensure some form of equity?


  • Dr Joyce Otsyina – Programmes focused on women could be said to be underpinned by some understanding that both men and women are interested in the same resources. What is lacking is the fact that the interest of women in these resources is ‘killed’ since they (women) are not offered opportunities that will help them act on these interests. This takes us to the issue of important resources such as land, credit/financial facilities and information in which I think both men and women are interested, and which also programmes know are of interest to both. The problem comes where there is a lack of commitment to implement programmes which seek to improve the supply of these resources among women.