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Ensuring equitable resource allocation and gender sensitive policies in supporting food production and security in Southern Africa

Never Assan

Abstract


Gender disparities in resource allocation and non gender responsive policies are  important constraint to increasing food production and security in Southern Africa. The discussion attempt to explore the role of equitable resource allocation and development of gender sensitive policies and their implications for  improving food production and security in Southern Africa.  Gender responsive policies are meant to catalyze a change process for ending gender discrimination and securing women’s access to key productive  resources. It is believed that without specific attention to gender issues in food production and security strategies, unknowingly policy  may  reinforce inequalities between women and men, and may even increase productive  resources imbalances. It must be emphasized that addressing gender resource allocation disparities and development of gender sensitive policies  is an integral part of enabling women to guarantee their families’—and their own—well-being. Little attention has been paid to the differential impacts of resource allocation disparities and development of gender sensitive policies on  food production and security, or to which delivery mechanisms may be more effective in addressing women needs and concerns in food production and security. It is assumed that traditional food production policies  are not gender-responsive and typically do not consult women who are the majority  end-users, improved varieties and technologies do not take into account women’s needs, preferences, and resources, as a result the high rate of failure of intervention  food production and security strategies. However, policy makers should be aware that development and implementation of gender responsive policies and equitable gender resource allocation  are likely to be mistaken for violation of  social norms or adversely affect gender relations within the household, leading to less successful adoption and potential backlash against women. Thus, interventions that seek to remove obstacles in gender resource allocation need to consider the trade-offs inherent in challenging and respecting gender norms.

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