Paris, T.R.,Diaz, C.P.,Hossain, M.,Vasallo, A.B. (International Rice Research Inst., Los Banos, Laguna (Philippines)
A paper presented in the Conference International Workshop on Enhancing Incomes of Rural Women Through Suitably Engineered Systems, Los Banos, Laguna (Philippines), 10-13 May 1994.
Studies show that women are rarely involved in discussions on the development of technologies, particularly related to machines. Based on this experience, women’s needs, perceptions, and feedback to the agricultural engineers were crucial in the refinement and modification of the micro ricemill. It showed that when machines are designed so that women can operate them, it is unlikely that men will take over. It further demonstrated the importance of direct interaction among agricultural engineers and the potential users and beneficiaries of the proposed technologies, which may not always be the men but women as well. Although the evaluation is only for a year, the micro ricemill has already shown potentials for increasing the income of women through collective efforts. More importantly, it has improved the status of women in the family and the community by empowering them to make decisions, manage and operate a machine and have control of the income generated from the milling services. The results of field evaluation showed that the overall performance (milling recovery, milling capacity, power consumption, quality of milled rice, and rice bran produced) of the machine was satisfactory and acceptable to women who are the users and direct beneficiaries of the mill. However, the appropriateness or adoption of a technology does not depend alone on its technical performance but also on social factors. These social factors concern the characteristics and qualities of the female end users and their capabilities to organize themselves for a common goal.