State Driven Agricultural Transformation and Its Impact on Gender Roles in Rural Rwanda

Monday, 11 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal III (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Distributed Paper
Christine BIGLER, University of Bern, Switzerland, Switzerland
The Rwanda’s Vision 2020 development policy focuses on the transformation of the agricultural sector. At the same time, gender equality and the integration of women into the labour market is given a high consideration. The Northern Province of Rwanda is a high potential agricultural region. The transformation from agricultural subsistence to a market oriented agricultural production is in full swing. Throughout this development, different income opportunities and income classes have built out during the last decade. Both women and men are integrated into this new production system and this leads to new gender roles. Traditionally, women were involved into productive field work, housework and care activities. With this economic transformation, women are a part of the paid rural labour market and have better access to cash income.

The main objective of this study is to examine how women and men are integrated into the market oriented agriculture production. Furthermore, under what conditions this new production system leads to new gender roles. A mixed-methods design is used and it involves quantitative results from a household survey and in-depth qualitative data collected from March to October 2015.

The first results indicate that constraints and opportunities from a market oriented agricultural production are not similar for women and men. The agriculture sector is highly gendered with women being overrepresented in low paid casual labour jobs. Additionally, in many cases the work burdens for women have been increased while the care work has been shifted to other female household members or domestic workers. Men’s involvement into household chores and care work are still on a low level. This leads to the conclusion that the social and economic transformation does not go simultaneously.