Promoting Women’s Economic Activity in Three Rural Value Chains
Title: Promoting Women’s Economic Activity in Three Rural Value Chains in Jordan
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Overall term: 2017 to 2019
Countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have the world’s lowest female participation rates in the workforce with only one out of five employees being female. Some 60 per cent of young female graduates are unemployed in Egypt and Tunisia. In Jordan, the figure is 40 per cent, while around 33 per cent of female Moroccan graduates are out of work. Less educated women are more likely to be working but are generally in poorly paid jobs, often in the informal sector.
Agriculture is one of the most important income generating sectors for women. However, women are usually involved in the invisible first steps of agriculture value chains. They grow, harvest, clean, store and prepare for the next production processes. In addition, they are working often on an informal basis in low-skilled and low-wage jobs. On farms, women have hardly any control over their earnings and little chance for obtaining technical training and education. When it comes to income generating activities such as sales and marketing, women are rarely involved.
During the period of 2012-2014, Economic Integration of Women in the MENA Region (EconoWin) promoted several value chains in the MENA region, including two projects in Jordan on milk processing in Jerash, and one on vegetable conservation in Ajloun. A total of approximately 320 women took part. 80 per cent of the women accessed more markets with diversified and better products and increased incomes.
The project has improved the economic performance of women in rural areas of Jordan by applying the gender sensitive value chain methodology in three agribusiness value chains (Jerash, Madaba, Ghour Al-Safi/Al-Karak).
The methodology “Gender Sensitive Value Chain” (GSVC) is a market-driven approach to both promote the competitiveness of value chains and improve the economic and social situation of rural women. It supports economic and entrepreneurial upgrading potential for women in the value chain and boosts the respective economic subsector. A GSVC project starts with the identification of a (sub) sector in industries and agricultural sectors with high rates of women’s participation and with potential for growth. It further includes the identification of local project partners, a rapid value chain appraisal and the facilitation of value chain development initiatives. Local value chain stakeholders in the project regions discuss strengths and weaknesses of the respective value chain, linking those to the participation and position of women in the chain. They outline initiatives to boost the competitiveness and performance of business in value chains and to enhance the economic situation and empowerment of women. In the end, local initiatives are integrated in regional and national strategies of inclusive growth.