There is a tendency in the literature to overgeneralise the picture portrayed of rural women, as the overworked food producer and household worker denied access to important resources, with no time for leisure. However, the potentialities and constraints with regard to women's performance of food chain activities vary according to farming systems as well as economic strata and age structure within a given society.
A few authors have presented typologies to signify that development planners must show consideration for differentiation among rural women. Safilios-Rotschild (1981) presents a typology based on three levels of differentiation in availability of land and labour, and the percentage of female-headed households in different types of rural areas.
In the first type of rural area within this typology, land is scarce, the percentage of landless or near landless households is high, there is a high labour supply and a large number of women tend to be working as agricultural wage labourers. This pattern is common in Asia, particularly in South East Asia. It is emphasized that efforts to modernize agriculture in this area, must take into account women's heavy involvement in agricultural wage labour, including both production and food handling. Agricultural technology which displaces female labour must be accompanied by labour absorption strategies (cfr. the introduction of rice hullers in Java, which displaced thousands of women workers, chapter 4). Such strategies may include formation of women's cooperatives, which buy, lease and operate the new technology and the creation of non-agricultural wage employment for women. Further suggestions for this area are introduction of appropriate technology to render women's agricultural work less physically taxing.
In the second type of area a large number of households have small land holdings. Women tend to work as unpaid workers on family plots and occasional agricultural or non-agricultural wage labourers. This pattern is found in rural regions and communities in Middle Eastern and Latin American countries. The proposed strategies here would include appropriate technology for making women's agricultural tasks easier and more efficient as well as nonagricultural income-generating opportunities for women. It is also advised that introduction of livestock and gardens to be attended by women would be an appropriate way to improve family nutrition and women's income. Agricultural extension and credit programmes for women would be relevant in such areas.
In the third area type the percentage of landless households is very low and labour is scarce as is true for many Sub-Saharan countries. The majority of women are unpaid family workers, farm managers on small, independent holdings or a combination of both. A small proportion are occasional agricultural wage labourers. A critical development strategy in such areas would be to redirect the existing agricultural information and services so as to include women (see section 10.5 for a further discussion). Introduction of labour saving technology would be an appropriate strategy. The same type of farming equipment that may displace women agricultural workers in areas of high labour supply, may be greatly beneficial in these areas of labour scarcity. It is emphasized that these technologies should save women's as well as men's labour. If labour saving technology is introduced only for the tasks which are the responsibility of men, as has been the prevalent pattern, the heavy workload that many women in this area have, may increase rather than decrease (this point is discussed in chapters 4 and 5).
In the typology, each of these area types are also categorized according to the frequency of female-headed households. Whenever there is a large number of female-headed households in these areas, the strategies discussed for each area are even more urgently needed. Introduction of labour saving technology that decreases women's time in household activities such as food processing, fetching of water and fuel, which would benefit working women, is particularly needed in areas with a large number of female-headed households.
Safilios-Rotschild did not include in her typologies the various ways in which responsibilities and work is divided between the sexes. These aspects are considered in two other typologies proposed, which also are made with the purpose of discussing implications for planning of women's different roles in various rural areas.
A typology developed by Staudt (1979), is based on women's degree of autonomy. This is made with the view to help in programme decisions about whom to contact with extension and credit among the household members. Women are classified according to three intrahousehold situations, where they are respectively autonomous, interdependent and dependent. Autonomy can occur either when men have migrated, resulting in female headship or when men reside in households where plots and/or crops are divided between the sexes. In such societies women usually have considerable decision-making power and control over the fruits of their labour within their own sphere. Examples of such societies are several traditional communities in Sub-Saharan Africa (see chapter 4).
Staudt considers interdependency as probably the most common and yet largely overlooked pattern in rural households, particularly among the poor. Here, women's contributions to total household productivity is often considerable. Decisions are made jointly or by consensus, and are often determined by survival and maintenance needs of the household, requiring closely cooperative work patterns. Those who do the work tend to control the products of their labour.
The pattern of dependency fits the common image of male household headship. Women are either involved only to a minimal degree in productive tasks, work under close male supervision, and operate inside the home or compound in a segregated fashion. Typical examples of this pattern are found in many Muslim societies.
One implication for planning of women's diversified roles, as presented in these typologies, is that assumptions about responsibilities and decision-making within households have to be assessed and verified. Otherwise staff may be contacting inappropriate persons or mistakenly focussing on certain individuals when others are crucial in the decision-making process. Inappropriate channeling of services or income to a man may disrupt the financial and labour balance between men and women and lead to increased labour, decreased commitment, and ultimately declining productivity for women. Such mistakes will have far reaching consequences when autonomy is the prevailing pattern, but they may be detrimental also in areas of interdependency.
Katona-Apte (1983) has presented a typology in order to demonstrate how a single socio-cultural factor, namely division of labour in agricultural production, may be relevant when trying to elucidate why some agricultural projects have had a negative impact on nutritional status. She has categorized societies into three groups according to extent and type of female participation in agriculture: 1) women's participation is minimal; 2) women participate in collaboration with men; 3) women work separate fields and crops. This typology and the one presented by Staudt are quite similar. They both assume a close relationship between women's participation in agricultural work and the extent of their decision-making power and control over resources.
Thus, in Katona-Apte's typology, women do not control income in type 1 societies, while the income is shared between men and women in type 2 societies, and in type 3 societies women control income from produce on their own plots. Similarly, in Staudt's typology the dependency category includes societies where women's participation in the labour force is minimal, and typical examples of societies where women are autonomous include those where women work separate fields and crops. This last category tends to include the same areas as those which Safilios-Rotschild identified as areas with low frequency of landless and low labour supply, which includes many Sub-Saharan societies.
Katona-Apte maintains that the factors leading to adverse nutritional effects of agricultural development programmes may be quite different in the various types of societies.
Three categories of problems which may link agricultural development to deleterious effects on nutritional status were identified: 1) increase in cash income results in nutritionally undesirable expenditure patterns; 2) changes in the perception of food needs within the household result in less food available for women and children and 3) women's available time for child care and other household-related tasks is decreased.
In type 1 societies, she sees the main possible problem as being a wrong perception of food needs within the household and that agricultural development may contribute to higher priorities for men's needs if they acquire greater earning potential. She suggests that such societies are mainly in need of general health and nutrition education, and that some of these should be aimed at men.
Potential problems pointed out for type 2 societies are time for household chores and child care as well as appropriate spending patterns. Suggested development strategies for such areas should aim at saving labour in food preparation, provision of adequate child care facilities as well as nutrition and health education and control over advertising and promotion.
Women in type 3 societies which are mainly subsistence food producers may encounter a serious cash control problem. Agricultural development leading to greater earning potential for men may also contribute to higher priorities for men's needs in these societies. It is suggested that women in such societies should be specifically included in cash crop production and that programmes on how to use technology to increase yield should be aimed at them separately from men.
These typologies are presented in order to make planners more aware of the different roles women play in various societies and the importance of taking such information into consideration in development planning. However, classifying societies in this way will always present certain problems. Many societies do not fit into such rigid systems. Furthermore, some important characteristics may be overlooked.
For example, the classification by Katona-Apte does not include the possibility that women, in societies where they mainly cultivate their own plots, may experience an increased work-burden as a result of an agricultural programme, such as the introduction of cash crops. This is because she sees women's agricultural work as totally separated from men's, which is almost never the case. As discussed in chapter 4, men have traditionally had the responsibility of clearing the land on women's plots. If men become too busy to continue this work, because of involvement in cash crop production, and if women in addition have to help out on men's plots, as is often the case, work overload for women will become a pressing problem. Thus, women in such societies are often urgently in need of measures which can save their labour, as discussed by Safilios-Rotschild. In fact, it may be very inappropriate to seek to involve them to a larger degree in cash crop production, if no labour-saving means are introduced.
It should also be noted that Katona-Apte has discussed only one factor. The possibility that other socio-economic factors may contribute to adverse nutritional influences of agricultural development programmes, should not be overlooked.
In addition to the differences between societies and regions as described above, it is obvious that there is considerable differentiation between women living in the same community. The wife of a prosperous farmer leads a life quite different from that of a poor agricultural wage worker, because the former benefits from her husband's income. She does not experience the harsh seasonal variations in food availability and she may expect to be able to get household goods and gifts from her husband.
Women living in the same community may also encounter similar problems. However, the potentialities for women to overcome these problems may be very different. These differences do not only concern their access to resources, education and employment, but also access to a social network which is important with respect to achieving self-reliance. As pointed out, many of these differences reflect the variations in the living situation between poor and the more well-to-do women. When a development programme aims at improvement of the nutritional situation, the focus will be on the rural poor, since it is here that the nutritional situation usually is most precarious. Thus, there is also often a need for target orientation in development programmes for women. This aspect has surprisingly enough, attracted very little attention in the literature dealing with women in food production.
A target orientation may be achieved by selection of certain geographical areas, characterized by low class or caste, or by high prevalence of malnutrition which may indicate problems in women's work in some part of the food chain. Areas with a high frequency of female-headed households may be another basis for targeting, since female-headed households encounter particular problems and are often found among the most poor.
Another angle of approach is a selection based on the type of work women do. This approach is particularly suited for development work through organization building and could include poor women working in particular fields or with particular crops or women having particular problems, such as seasonal work overload. Targeting could also include women, working with certain demeaning tasks. For example, in many societies cultural norms prevent women from working in certain capacities, such as agricultural wage labourers. Well-to-do women can abide by these norms. Thus, the women who do not follow these norms, often do so because of poverty.
From the above discussion it becomes apparent that planners have to take into consideration the socio-economic reality in which women, as well as men, live. Different needs and interests of various groups of women may lead to conflicts and a different project outcome than was intended.
In many rural development projects, the selection of beneficiaries is not based on the social and economic characteristics of women. Frequently, whole areas or communities are chosen. In such projects it is important that a monitoring or evaluation system is built into the project so as to assess the impact with regard to workload, income generation possibilities and general wellbeing on different groups of women, particularly among the most disadvantaged of the intended beneficiaries.