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close this bookRural women and food security: current situation and perspectives. (1998)
close this folderNear East
close this folder3 Constraints faced by women farmers
View the document(introduction...)
View the document3.1 Exclusion from power and decision-making
View the document3.2 Poor institutional support
View the document3.3 Lack of land rights
View the document3.4 Lack of credit
View the document3.5 Inappropriate technology
View the document3.6 Insufficient education
View the document3.7 Neglect by agricultural extension services
View the document3.8 Exclusion from research

3.5 Inappropriate technology

Women in the Near East Region perform their work in food security with very little access to labour-saving equipment (e.g. tools, threshers, harvesters, transportation vehicles) and technology (e.g. improved seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, technical expertise). Equipment and technology increase the efficiency of farm and household work, improve agricultural yields and increase food production. In the dwelling itself, many women perform household tasks without electricity, running water, sewage and garbage disposal and adequate cooking and food storage facilities.

Women's access to technology is limited by several factors including their lack of cash income or credit to purchase technology, and their lack of contact with extension services and cooperatives. Tradition encourages men to take control over mechanized land preparation, sowing, fertilizing, herbicide and pesticide use, harvesting and post-harvesting activities, leaving women with the more labour-intensive and time-consuming non-mechanized tasks such as hand-sowing, hand-weeding and harvesting, and picking fruits and vegetables. Moreover, new technology has often been inappropriate to women's needs. For example, while mechanization of some farm practices, such as sowing and harvesting, has reduced drudgery and increased productivity, mechanization has also reduced poorer women's prospects for employment and cash income (Buvinic and Mehra, 1990).

Appropriate technologies, specifically to enhance women's contributions to food security in the region, have yet to be developed. Efforts are needed to develop appropriate, gender-sensitive and environmentally sustainable technologies. The introduction of such technology must be preceded by careful examination of their socio-economic and gender implications, especially with respect to any differential impact the technology may have on men and women and on rich and poor farmers.