The Role of Gender Norms in Access to Agricultural Training in Chikwawa and Phalombe, Malawi


Mudege, Netsayi N., Norita Mdege, Putri E. Abidin, and Sandra Bhatasara. 2017. “The Role of Gender Norms in Access to Agricultural Training in Chikwawa and Phalombe, Malawi.” Gender, Place & Culture 24 (12): 1689-710.

Authors: Netsayi N. Mudege, Norita Mdege, Putri E. Abidin, Sandra Bhatasara


Based on qualitative research conducted in Chikwawa and Phalombe in Malawi, this article discusses how gender relations shape men and women’s access to and participation in agricultural training. It also examines how men and women justify or challenge gender inequalities in relation to access to agricultural information and knowledge. Data on gender and recruitment to and participation in training, barriers to training and access to information as well as farmer to farmer extension models were collected and analysed. A gender relations approach, focusing on power and inequality, was used to analyse the data. The data shows that the perception of men as household heads and women as carers or helpers who are also illiterate and ignorant often has implications on women’s ability to access training and information. Negative stereotypical perceptions about women by their husbands and extension workers militate against women’s access to training and information. Institutional biases within extension systems reproduce gender inequality by reinforcing stereotypical gender norms. Extension officers should be targeted with training on gender responsive adult learning methodologies and gender awareness to help them be more inclusive and sensitive to women’s needs.

Keywords: agriculture, extension, gender, gender relations, Malawi

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi

Year: 2017

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