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< prev - next > Social and economic development discovering technologists (Printable PDF)
Gender and Technology Training Guidelines
Many studies have been done in the past few decades investigating the different roles
of women and men. The conclusion of these studies is that women and men do not
benefit equally from the sexual division of labour, access to resources, legal rights,
political voice, and access to education. Women have more family responsibilities
than their male counterparts and work longer hours. Yet their contributions are less
valued and of lower status.
Development plans and programmes are frequently designed without considering
either the contribution of women or their impact on women’s lives. Women and men
differ in their work. Development interventions will therefore have a different impact
on them. They will benefit differently, and will respond differently. There is danger
that men’s work, lives and needs will be considered as the norm when designing
development interventions. . We have to separate the differences between men’s and
women’ role and needs, and take into account the social and economical obstacles to
women’s involvement in development projects.
For decades women have been in the forefront of meeting the basic needs of their
children and families and responsible for food production and income generation. All
over the world they produce goods and services needed by their families and their
communities and make a major contribution to their national economies. Society also
expects women to assume the bulk of the responsibility for the care and the nurture
of the children. But these activities are not valued, and women do not have the same
access as men to the services, resources and opportunities within their communities.
Technology is a vital element in the lives of any community in the developing world. It
plays a significant role in food security and agriculture and in small scale artisanal
production. It is important that field workers of NGOs and other development
agencies working with communities understand the technological capabilities of the
people of they work with.
Women in their daily activities use technical skills and knowledge. They continually
innovate and adapt technologies in response to the difficulties that confront their
lives. However, these technological contributions are invisible for a variety of reasons.
Many relate to the activities in the domestic sphere, and are not recognised as being
technical innovations, as they often consist of small adaptations to existing
technologies rather than new inventions. This ‘invisibility’ means that extension of
new technologies or technical skills often by-pass women