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Structural adjustment, women, and agriculture in Cameroon.

Authors
  • Fonchingong, C
Type
Published Article
Journal
Gender and development
Publication Date
Nov 01, 1999
Volume
7
Issue
3
Pages
73–79
Identifiers
PMID: 12349481
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

This article assesses the impact of economic structural programs on the agricultural activities of women's groups in Cameroon, and explores women's ways of coping with the reduction in individual and family income and the loss of public services. It examines the role of 25 women's groups in both rural and urban areas of Cameroon's northwest and southwest provinces in a study conducted from April to June 1999. Economic structural adjustment caused a tremendous increase in the workload of women that are farming usually in lots distant from their homes that yield poor returns. Land for food-crop cultivation has become increasingly scarce, and inputs have become substantially unaffordable. Income generated from the sale of crops is inadequate to supply the economic and social needs of the family. Moreover, the burden of their work has increased as they cope with housework, child-care, and food production, in addition to an expanded participation in paid employment. Moreover, women spend longer working hours than men, meeting both household responsibilities and their outside work. Women have devised strategies to cope with this economic crisis, but they need organizations that will support them with the important resources to be able to operate. Rural women seem to be coping better than urban women cope. In extreme cases, some women in urban areas resort to prostitution to cope with life in this crisis setting.

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