Does Gender Division of Labour Matters for the Differences in Access to Agricultural Extension Services? A Case Study in North West Ethiopia

  •  Asres Elias    
  •  Makoto Nohmi    
  •  Kumi Yasunobu    
  •  Akira Ishida    


Women farmers comprise, on average, 43% of the agricultural labour force in developing countries. However, despite their role in agricultural production, their work remains largely unrecognized and they have been virtually ignored by agricultural intervention programs. Thus the aim of this study is to analyze the gender division of labour in agricultural production and identify the real causes of women farmers’ absence in agricultural extension services using a case study conducted in three rural villages of North West Ethiopia. Despite women’s significant role in crop and livestock production in the study area, only 15.8% of women heads are users of the extension service whereas men heads account for the lion share (70.7%). The quota system imposed on extension workers that led them to target resource-rich farmers combined with women’s poor access to resources are the most important factors for the denial of women’s client-ship in extension services. Capturing the differences between men and women in terms of productive assets should be boldly underlined to design gender responsive services. Moreover, minimizing the effect of quantitative targeting of clients and developing policies and programs that strengthen women’s physical access to resources remain important.

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