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Smart Tech Will Only Work for Women When the Fundamentals for Its Uptake Are in Place

Science and technology offer exciting pathways for rural women to tackle the challenges they face daily. Innovative solutions for rural women can, for example, reduce their workload, raise food production and increase their participation in the paid labour market. But even the very best innovative, gender-appropriate technology makes no sense without access to other critical resources, especially secure land rights, which women in rural areas need to flourish.

Land degradation and drought affect, at least, 169 countries. The poorest rural communities experience the severest impacts. For instance, women in areas affected by desertification, easily spend four times longer each day collecting water, fuelwood and fodder. Moreover, these impacts have very different effects on men and women. In the parts of Eritrea impacted most by desertification, for example, the working hours for women exceed those of men by up to 30 hours per week.....

The demand for technology design that meets rural women’s specific needs is great. But developing appropriate technology is not enough, if the pre-requisites for technology uptake, in particular access to land, credit and education, are not in place. Today, a web of laws and customs in half the countries on the planet undermine women’s ability to own, manage, and inherit the land they farm.....

In nearly many developing countries, laws do not guarantee the same inheritance rights for women and men.In many more countries, with gender equitable laws, local customs and practices that leave widows landless are tolerated....

If we want to tackle the underlying causes of gender inequality, to build smart and innovate for change, then technology is good. Innovative, gender appropriate technology is better. But these will have little impact if the pre-requisites for its uptake by women, in particular access to land, credit and education, are non-existent.

Read further from the source. (OPINION By Ibrahim Thiaw .Ibrahim Thiaw is Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.)