Feminization, agricultural transition and rural employment (FATE)

PhD theses

PhD thesis by Christine Bigler

Photo: FATE project

Rwanda’s gendered rural labor market. When the social and economic transformations do not go simultaneously

This thesis uses a mixed-method approach to explore the agricultural transformation and sustainable development of the Rwandan highlands from a gender perspective. Thereby, it critically examines the widely held promise that the transformation of agriculture – from subsistence to market-oriented production – provides a way out of poverty thereby securing women’s and men’s wealth and well-being. The results of this thesis indicate that the agricultural sector is highly gendered, which translates into unequal distribution of constraints and opportunities of market-oriented agricultural production for women and men.

PhD thesis by Chantal Ingabire

Photo: S. Bieri

Market participation and its effect on employment and food access within households of smallholder women farmers in Rwanda

This thesis examines the integration of smallholder households, in particular women, in the current marketing system and explores the drivers of market participation as well as its effect on food access and employment. While different drivers, such as land ownership, education, and access to infrastructure could support the commercialization of agriculture, women’s limited control over income and their increased workload were fundamental hindrances to households’ market participation. The findings further suggest that market participation is positively linked with households’ food access and on-farm employment.

PhD thesis by Sony K.C.

Photo: FATE project

Agricultural transition in the Eastern Hills of Nepal: The interlink between commercial cardamom farming, women’s livelihood and empowerment

Working on commercial cardamom farming, this thesis examines the livelihoods of Nepalese women engaged in cardamom farming and asks about the factors leading to their empowerment. The findings indicate an improvement in farmers’ livelihoods and suggest that the engagement in cardamom production has empowered women financially and socially. However, the results also indicate that patriarchal structures still deprive women of having access to property and resources, which questions whether women are fully empowered.

PhD thesis by Maurice Tschopp

Photo: FATE project

The Quinoa boom: Asset-building, commoditization, and cooperative contribution to natural resource governance

Using a mixed-methods approach, this thesis explores the various impacts of quinoa export markets on peasant communities’ livelihoods in Bolivia’s Southern Altiplano. For one, findings suggest that while the boom contributed to significant economic development in the region, it may also have increased inequalities between wealthier and poorer families. In addition, the quinoa boom challenged local peasant communities both in the governance of natural resources and in economic autonomy. Here, the thesis explores local adaptation strategies of local organizations to cope with these challenges.