Rural Women in the Status of Family Helpers in Agricultural Households


Advocacy for Improving the Position of Women in the Status of Family Helpers

May - July 2008

Topics: Gender equality, Local development.
Programmes: Research.

The Project is focused on two recommendations of the CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) Committee, requiring Serbian government agencies to ensure that social rights of women in the position of family helpers are exercised and to enhance revenue-generating activities of women in rural areas (CEDAW, 2007: 6-7). It was implemented by conducting a survey and a campaign.

Research was conducted on a sample of 500 women from 50 villages across Serbia, and results provided a more detailed insight into the main characteristics and requirements for improving their situation:

1. The position of women in the status of family helpers cannot be systematically improved without improving the position of agricultural households or improving employment conditions

2. The gender dimension of the social position indicates that the social position stems from significant inequality in property ownership, exclusion or limited involvement in making decisions about the management of smallholdings, limited access to household earnings and an imbalance in the division of responsibilities and activities related to looking after the household and the family.

The campaign was directed at decision-makers as well as the broader public. A round table was organized, with representatives from relevant ministries, institutions and organizations, and individual talks were held with representatives from relevant ministries, to present survey findings and jointly define further measures and activities. The media showed great interest in this subject, and the survey was presented at the Expert Meeting organized in 2008 by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) in Tirana, Albania.