More than twenty years of experience with research and development has shown that technology is not neutral. Women are vital to food security and family well-being and their need for labor-saving and income-generating technologies is acute. However, most research and development programs from the 1970s through the mid-1990s only partly recognized women’s contributions to the development process and the effect of the process on them. As a result, new technologies often had detrimental consequences not only to the economic security and social status of women and their families but also to these programs’ and projects’ ability to meet national and regional development objectives.
Women’s work, particularly in rural areas, is arduous and time consuming. Women and children carrying heavy loads of wood and water, and women pounding grain, are familiar images. Increasingly, though, girls are also headed to school, studying science, and contributing to technology development. Three areas of technology research and adaptation can make substantial contributions to rural women’s well-being and empowerment: agricultural production and postharvest processing, information technology, and energy.
Read and download paper here.