By Sonia Zaharia, MSc-student Organic Agriculture.
Many low-income countries deliberately pursue agricultural specialization to increase yields and thereby lift their population out of hunger and poverty. Trade is supposed to offset the implied lower diversity of food production and deliver a food supply that supports the health of their population. This study challenges this assumption. I investigate the link between the prevalence of overweight and agricultural specialization. Using a fixed-effects panel regression on data from 65 low- and middle-income countries over the period 1975-2013, I find that countries in which agricultural production is more specialized have a larger share of overweight women. The positive relationship is higher in countries with lower per capita income. The correlation is not statistically different from zero for the male population, which confirms existing empirical evidence that malnourishment tends to be more frequent for women than for men. My results suggest that there are negative health implications of agricultural specialization in poor countries.
My full thesis From hunger to Obesity: agricultural specialization and obesity in low- and middle income countries can be downloaded from the WUR-Library.
Wageningen University’s School of Social Sciences (WASS) will be offering a PhD course in May and June 2017 called Gender and Diversity in Sustainable Development. Bettina Bock and Jessica Duncan, both from RSO, will lecture in this course.
Inequality lies at the center of current debates about sustainable development, from which a number of policy issues, including Sustainable Development Goals, emanate. Yet, how social (in)equality contributes to creating sustainable development often remains invisible in research. This course enables participants to recognize linkages between gender and diversity and sustainable development in a contemporary globalising world.
The topics covered in this course are:
- Introduction: key concepts in gender studies
- Trends form a historical perspective
- Economics: macro and micro perspectives
- Work and care
- Population and migration
- Food security and governance
- Environment and natural resource management
- Global politics
This course will be a seminar. We will take a highly interactive learner-centered approach that combines short lectures with group-based learning activity and discussion. A series of instructors with gender and diversity expertise from WUR and other universities will discuss the relevance of the themes discussed in our class to their own domains.
More information is available here: http://www.wur.nl/en/Education-Programmes/PhD-Programme/Graduate-Schools/Wageningen-School-of-Social-Sciences/Courses/Show-1/Gender-Diversity-in-Sustainable-Development.htm
You are all welcome to the launch of Gendered Food Practices from Food to Waste
- Wednesday 22 February 2017 / 15.00-17.00
- Impulse / Wageningen Campus, Building 115,Wageningen University
- Address: Stippeneng 2, Wageningen
There will be coffee and tea upon arrival. Guest-editors Bettina Bock and Jessica Duncan (from RSO) will give a short presentation and hand over the first copy to professor J.M. van Winter, professor emerita of medieval history, expert in food history, and main benefactor of the Yearbook of Women’s History.
Curator of the National Museum of Education Jacques Dane will give a presentation of his contribution to the volume on Domestic Science in and outside the Dutch Classroom in the period 1880-1930.
Registration: Please RSVP before 19 February to e.c.walhout ( a ) hum.leidenuniv.nl (Evelien Walhout).
About the volume
In nearly all societies gender has been, and continues to be, central in defining roles and responsibilities related to the production, manufacturing, provisioning, eating, and disposal of food. The 2016 Yearbook of Women’s History presents a collection of new contributions that look into the diversity of these gendered food-related practices to uncover new insights into the shifting relations of gender across food systems. Authors explore changing understandings and boundaries of food-related activities at the intersection of food and gender, across time and space. Look out for intriguing contributions that range from insights into the lives of market women in late medieval food trades in the Low Countries, the practices of activist women in the garbage movement of prewar Tokyo, the way grain storage technologies affect women in Zimbabwe, through to the impact of healthy eating blogs in the digital age.
Editors: Bettina Bock and Jessica Duncan (guest-editors), Eveline Buchheim, Saskia Bultman, Marjan Groot, Evelien Walhout and Ingrid de Zwarte
Call for papers for the Yearbook of Women’s History (2016)
Pastoralist women at traditional food fair in Gujarat, India (photo credit: MARAG)
Gendered food practices from seed to waste
Guest editors: Bettina Bock and Jessica Duncan
About the Yearbook
The Yearbook of Women’s History is a peer-reviewed academic annual covering all aspects of gender connected with historical research throughout the world. It has a respectable history in itself, reporting on issues concerning women and gender for 35 years. The Yearbook has addressed topics such as women and crime, women and war, and gender, ethnicity and (post)colonialism. Overtime the Yearbook has shifted focus from purely historical analysis to a broader historical and gender analysis, focused on women’s and men’s roles in society. By focusing on specific themes, the Yearbook aspires that each issue crosses cultures and historical time periods, while offering readers the opportunity to compare perspectives within each volume. There has been one previous issue related to food: Gender and Nurture (1999). The present volume is a follow-up and aims to testify to differences in scholarly approaches in this field since the 1990s.
About the Annual Issue
In nearly all societies gender has been and continues to be central in defining roles and responsibilities around food production, manufacturing, provisioning, eating, and disposal. Food–related work and practices along with context and cultures serve to construct and reinforce identities and social structures. At the same time, the gendered practices around food are complex and often contradictory. Much of the literature on gender and food explores these complexities and contradictions but continues to make use of dichotomies (i.e., rural/urban; local/global; producer/consumer; large-scale/small-scale; man/woman; past/future) that are increasingly less suited to critical analyses of the fluidity of experiences and science and thus limit our ability to better understand relationships between food and gender.
January 2014 Xiangdan Meng has successfully defended her PhD-thesis “Feminization of Agricultural Production in Rural China:
A Sociological Analysis“. It can still be viewed at wurtv.wur.nl.
Rural-urban migration of male labour force is an unstoppable process in China. Although some women also migrate to work in cities, most of these women return to the villages after marriage. They need to take care of the children and the family and to work on their smallholder farms. In general, women’s labour participation in agriculture has increased due to the migration of the male labourers and they have become the main labour force in smallholder agriculture. This thesis is a sociological analysis on the impact of this change on the situation of these women and on smallholder agriculture from the women’s perspective. Continue reading
The report ‘Personal and social development of women in rural areas of Europe’, prepared for the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, provides an overview of the social situation of women in the rural areas of Europe. It looks into rural women’s work, political participation and their experience of the quality of life in rural areas. It points at the great diversity between and within Member States but also states that there is no evidence of a general rural disadvantage. Women experience specific problems only in the peripheral rural regions of Europe and in particular the Central-Eastern Member States. These areas are maladapted to women’s needs in terms of employment and services, as well as cultural norms and values. It is also in those areas that young rural women (and men) decide to leave and to search for a better life elsewhere.
Analysis of rural development policies reveals that women seldom participate in the formation of rural development plans or the decision making on the distribution of funds. There are some projects designed for women often focusing on self-employment. There are also some projects aimed at improving the supply of social services. Most projects are fragmented attempts to solve some problems for some women. A coherent plan on how to address gender equality is lacking.
To improve the situation of rural women it is recommended to focus on the situation in the peripheral rural areas where the low quality of life and lack of work, income and services constraints women’s development and perpetuates unequal gender relations. It is important to invest in the vitality and quality of life of those areas and to improve their accessibility. Upgrading the local quality of life may convince rural women (and men) to stay. It may also help to mobilize individual and collective action for local development.