Transformation in Gender Norms for Innovation and Development in Agriculture and NRM Sector: A Case Study of Jajarkot, Myagdi and Devdaha, Nepal
Innovation in agriculture and natural resource management (NRM) has always ignored gender inequality which limits in its impact and risks worsening the poverty, workload and wellbeing of poor rural women and their families. Prevailing deep-seated gender norms ¾ i.e. rules prescribing women’s and men’s roles and behavior in their society ¾ women and men have different capacities to take advantage of new opportunities in agriculture and natural resource management. In order to analyze the disparity in gender equality the study aimed to assess the transformation of gender norms in the sector of innovation and development of Agriculture and NRM in Tandi-Chitwan, Jagatpur-Jajarkot, Jheen-Myagdi and Devedaha-Rupandehi. The methodology features a comparative qualitative approach that is focus group discussion (FGD) among middle class, youth and women built on the World Bank global studies Voices of the Poor, Moving Out of Poverty, and On Norms and Agency. At the village level, case selection and classification was done based information on variation across two dimensions expected to shape interactions between gender norms, agency, agricultural and NRM innovation processes such as Gender gaps in assets and capacities and economic dynamism.
The result shows that Tandi had high gender and economic dynamism compared to Jagatipur, Jheen and Devdaha which had either high gender dynamism and low economic dynamism or both indicators very low. Understanding of equality among men and women also varied indicating that some of the women understood as equality meaning equal wage and work, while men thought they both have equal salary and have equal share of knowledge and ability to learn. There was differences in physical mobility pattern of young women and men of Devdaha, Tandi, Jagatipur and Jheen indicating rating of women’s decision over movement, the young women rated on average at 7.4% whereas the young men rated at 5.8% only. Further analysis presented the views on mobility of women and majority assessed that they find partial restriction on movement, some assessed partial movement with restriction and very few responded to have free movement. The result also showed the different trends in empowerment as reported in ladder of power and freedom by middle class men and women and young people 10 years ago and today indicating the change in gender norms for participation in decision making and innovative role in NRM. The research finding based on FGDs for knowing who could be a good innovator gender wise, most of the respondents mentioned that both men and women could be an innovator, but their capacity of innovation could differ. The results also assessed the capacities that hinder and support innovation among men and women. For all these transformation to happen in gender norms for innovation it was concluded that social cohesion is an important factor and discrimination reduced to participate in agriculture and NRM innovation and come out of poverty. Thus the overall finding indicates that transformation in gender equality norms could support in the development of innovation and policy strategy in the sector of agriculture and NRM.