Rural studies on how women empowerment is affected by

Rural women in developing countries face numerous constraints based on
social, legal, political and economic gender-based biases.

They usually have less access than
men to medical care, property ownership, credit, training and employment. They
are far less likely than men to be politically active and far more likely to be
victims of domestic violence.

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 These constraints are amplified
during the course of violent conflict. Conflict can sometimes empower women, it
creates opportunities for women to break down gender barriers and assume new
roles in their societies this is temporary, and there is an eventual return to
prewar gender roles, and in other cases the clock is never turned back fully.
However, conflict can also severely disempower them. There are very few studies
on how women empowerment is affected by violent conflicts, for that, this study
will examine how conflict is affecting the already widening gender gaps in
access to resources, information, innovations, and services and how, in turn,
that is affecting women’s empowerment.

 

 

 

literature Review:

Such research over world focus on the
gender abuse as the effect of the conflict, (Boesten, 2014) shows that violence
against women often persists, or even increases, after conflict. In addition to
heightened physical violence against women in the private and public spheres,
armed conflict often causes life-changing suffering, such as unwanted
pregnancies, the loss of male breadwinner(s), displacement, and physical and
socio-economic insecurity that, in turn, increases women’s vulnerability to
sexual violence and exploitation. Boesten focuses on the importance of finding innovative
and transformative interventions which can, ultimately, lift the shame and
stigma from the victim-survivor and allow the world to see that the
perpetrators, and not the victim, should be blamed and punished for sexual
violence.

 

 
(Samuels&Jones,2014) highlighted a rising phenomenon in the heavily
conflict in Srilanka- and Tsunami-affected east of the country: the migration
of women to the Middle East as workers, leaving their children behind in the
care of fathers or grandparents, which has led to, among other things,
increased rates of neglect and sexual abuse within families. A very different
example comes from Liberia, which is documenting the re-emergence of
traditional bush schools that had largely vanished during the conflict. These
schools aim to train adolescents in traditional and culturally ascribed gendered
roles and responsibilities, here they raise the issue of less understanding
the kinds of services that
would meet girls and young women psychosocial needs during the conflict.

These studies ignored the conflict
effects on the role of women in their societies, which influence strongly by gendered roles and
responsibilities, especially in violent conflicts, which pose distinct
challenges to men and women, but women have a key role to play in building
peace

 

(UNDP,2013) assured that excluding
women as primary managers and users of natural resources in many
conflict-affected contexts, is clearly a missed peace opportunity.

And this is harmonious with development
rule, that only be achieved when both men and women in conflict-affected and
fragile societies access and benefit from natural resources in an equitable and
sustainable.

 

Some studies find significant
variations and ambiguities across the different domains of women’s lives,
across countries, and across urban and rural contexts. (El-Bushra and Sahl,
2005) provide a rich comparative study of the impact of war on gender relations
in five communities, each from a different conflict-affected country in Africa.
In all five cases, war reduced men’s economic roles

While “propelling women into greater
economic activity” The authors conclude that this shift often gave women
somewhat more authority in their homes, but usually not in the wider community.
There was also some variation between the sample communities, with, for
example, better-off urban women in Somalia able to make more economic advances
than the women studied in Mali.

 

Also, (Kumar, 2001) studied the
effects of war on women and found higher rates of female economic
participation, mainly in agriculture and the informal economy. In many
contexts, the lack of men in the labor force created new opportunities for
women, for instance in textile factories, construction, salt, rubber production
in Cambodia. However, in the difficult post conflict period, many female
workers lost formal sector jobs as their economies struggled combatants
returned, and in some case study countries, state owned enterprises were
privatized. Unlike El Bushra and Sahl, Kumar found significant increases in women’s
political participation and collective action across the case study countries
during the war, followed by a retreat from public life as men are asserted
authority and women withdrew from shouldering

heavy public burdens due to stress
and fatigue. Where women’s civic engagement persisted after the war, Kumar
traces this to a more supportive political climate the growth of women’s organizations,
and increased international assistance from donors and women’s networks.

 

(Brück and Vothknecht,2007), in their
review of studies assessing women’s status in post-conflict settings, conclude
that the data are ambiguous on the extent to which greater gender equality can
emerge and be sustained in the aftermath of war. They surmise that ongoing
insecurity and high levels of domestic violence “seem to be decisive factors in
the post-conflict rollback of women’s wartime gains and the return to prewar
gender roles.

 

After
reviewing these literatures, we can say that the forces unleashed by conflict
and recovery processes may provide moments in history when it is easier for
women to forge new pathways for themselves and their families.  Shocks to local institutions and structures,
including gender norms and roles, may sometimes provide women wider space for
action. Women may be exposed to new ideas and skills while displaced and then
propelled into new interactions with local public, market, and civic
institutions during recovery. New infrastructure built through post-conflict
aid may lighten their household burdens and open up opportunities to pursue
better livelihoods. Nevertheless, the post-conflict experiences of women and
their communities vary widely.

 

Further
research is needed on the conditions that may foster women’s empowerment and
poverty reduction, and on the most promising interventions for building a set
of entry points for policies and programs that can advance women’s empowerment
and inclusive recovery processes in communities emerging from violent
conflict. 

 

Some
of these interventions are also needed in no conflict communities, because many
of the barriers to women’s economic, social, and political participation are
widely present. But the post-conflict period offers a rare window of
opportunity that should not be ignored. This is not only a matter of improving
the lives of women. Communities with more empowered women also enjoyed more
rapid recovery and poverty reduction in the wake of conflict. For contexts with
deeply exclusionary structures, women require more extensive investments and
external partners who will stand by them, because shifting power structures is
difficult to do in the best of circumstances. Post-conflict environments
nevertheless can present promising entry points for undertaking this work

                                     

 

Problem statement:

In the MENA region, since 2011, the
seriously deteriorated security situation has in general negatively affected
the farming communities in rural areas; in some countries, particularly in like
Syria, production and farm incomes has dramatically decreased, loss of trade
and influx of internal displaced persons (IDPs) have severely constrained the
limited resources and put heavy burden on the labor markets as well as support
of IDPs. The conflicts are also negatively affecting the access to resources
and markets by farming communities (FAO/WFP, 2014). The gender disparity of
access to resources and inputs, in general, has already been well established
globally (FAO, 2011). Previous studies show that although women play
substantial roles in farming and are increasingly involved in agricultural
management, they are generally overlooked or under-valued as farmers by both
men and women, at the household and community levels (Galia, 2013). Such
entrenched social norms and attitudes constrain women’s access to agricultural
resources and services even before the conflict. Customary practices that limit
women’s rights to land are predominant. These include common practices of
favoring women to forego their land inheritance rights to male relatives; with
the norm of “keeping the land with the family”. In many cases, women also
cannot access markets where marketing is seen primarily as men’s role. Local
customs dictate that, since market is dominated by men, women should restrain
themselves from venturing to avoid mixing of sexes. This affects both input and
output markets, putting them out of reach of women. Lack of access to input and
output markets also reduce women’s returns to investment, if any, on natural
resources and reduce their incentives to claim rights over resources.

The study proposes to examine the
effects of the widening gender gaps in access to resources, information,
innovations, and services on women’s empowerment and the underlying norms and
attitudes on the society that reinforce and perpetuate these gender gaps. We
hypothesize that these gender gaps have even increased further due to the
insecurity in the region. Insecurity constrains the functioning of markets and
local social organizations that people normally use to access finance such as
local financial solidarity associations. These constraints are even much
stronger due to constraints to women’s mobility due to disproportionately
greater security impacts in women. Lack of security also increases crimes
against women and limits their mobility which further constrain their ability
to control production making them lose control of assets much more that before
the conflict.

Study sites:

The study will be implemented in Syria
in three different areas: Tortuous, Sweida and Salamiah covering both rural
households who lived there before the conflict and the internally displaced
people who moved temporarily and are sheltered in these communities. These
three locations are selected for their relatively more stable security
situation; but they are representing three different parts of the socioeconomic
mosaic of the Syrian population in terms local ethnicity and religious sects.
The effects of these local socio-economic differences as well as the effects of
the differences in the level of security on the changes in women’s access to
resource, markets and finance will be examined. 
“as the team work is Syrian and these are secure places, so no need for
permission to visit the study sits”

 

Methods:

The study will conduct rapid rural
appraisals, focus groups (women, men, women and men), personal interviews, live
history of systematically selected categories of households, designed survey
instruments(questionnaire), and will document and analyze perceptions of both
men and women about the changes in gender gaps in access to resources, markets
and finance as a result of insecurity brought about by the conflict in the
country. Survey data (100 H.H in every area as random sample) and Econometric
methods will be used to conduct quantitative analysis of the differences in
gender gaps of access to resources, markets and finance.

 

Development relevance

The study will provide empirical
evidence on how conflict affects women empowerment and will develop clear
recommendations on how to support and empower women in the regions of conflict
and this will be extremely important for humanitarian programs operating in
regions of conflict.

The information can provide guidance
to development agencies and justify the need to redouble their efforts to reach
out rural women in the MENA region with much greater intensity particularly in
these troubling times of conflict and instability which could make the
situation even more serious for women. Women obviously represent half of the
population and their capacities and access and control of resources and their
economic activities have direct positive impacts on the welfare of their
households particularly on children’s nutrition and education which is critical
for the sustainable development of any society. So this study supports the
societies’ development.

 

Out puts:

1-Publish an essays (3).

2-Work shop for disseminating the
results of the study, for 3-recommendations on interventions for development and
humanitarian agencies, and Honoring the distinguished interviewed women during
the field survey.

3- Publish a book (Toolkit Guide to
Empower Women During and After the Conflict).

 

 

Utilization of existing research
facilities at the researcher’s institution or other institutions:

My institution is agricultural
research organization has good relation with Syrian Ministry of Agriculture,
which is responsible for rural and agricultural research. Women are now
involved in the rural space than men Thus women are now dominating the
agricultural labor and increasingly becoming farm mangers. Therefore, research
on women empowerment is highly relevant. For that, the researcher will visit
its branches in the study sits, so I can meet local enumerators and select the
qualified teamwork in every area.

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