Development organizations, leaders of the agricultural food production sector in western Honduras and members of the academic community from both ZAMORANO and Penn State University met to discuss how to equally include men and women in the country’s agricultural activities. This discussion took place within the framework of the workshop on “Gender and Agriculture in Honduras”, which is part of the “Women in Agricultural Network” project in Honduras, implemented by the Department of Agribusiness Management of ZAMORANO and funded by USAID (United States Agency for International Development).
Nowadays, gender has become a buzzword in the discourse around development, however, even without looking at political agendas, it is evident that the female exclusion from the economic life in rural communities has generated a stagnation in development. In fact, there are cultural patterns that profoundly limit women’s participation in economic and productivity issues, thus the almost nonexistent investment in the education of girls or women.
Dr. Janell Larson, from Penn State University, mentioned that gender studies already affirm that men and women are equally productive when both have equal access to resources. It is our task then to to ensure that both state governments and non-governmental organizations support the development of women to their full potential. When women have access to education, access to resources and participate in the decision-making within their communities, they become an effective catalyst for change. Empowering a woman for the good of society presupposes that she can make the best decisions for her own personal wellbeing, contributing fundamentally to the development of nations.
This workshop demonstrates the wealth of knowledge that is generated when academics, development organizations and agricultural producers come together to exchange experiences to “produce reliable information for responsible decision-making,” explains Dr. Lansdale, ZAMORANO’s president. Nora Martinez and María Ramírez, for instance, traveled from Copán representing OCDIH (Christian Organization for the Integral Development of Honduras), in order to articulate the social challenges that affect women in their environment and thus offer real and fresh perspectives on the subject about gender and agriculture in rural communities of Honduras.