Incorporating a decision-making module in agricultural surveys to improve the availability of gender-relevant data

Large data gaps exist in agricultural surveys, which limit our understanding of the gender dimensions in agriculture.  An aim of one of the Global Strategy’s priority areas is to improve the availability of comparable sex-disaggregated and gender-relevant data within agricultural surveys. 

As part of this work, a decision-making module that could be incorporated in agricultural censuses and surveys was developed and field tested in Uganda in partnership with the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) in August and September 2016.

The decision-making module can be incorporated into plot, crop, and livestock rosters to capture the gender distribution of managerial decisions made around cropping and livestock stock activities on the holding.  The standard approach in agricultural censuses and surveys is to simply ask who the holder is, where he is assumed to make all the major decisions about the operations of the agricultural holding.  The field test explored whether integrating decision-making questions into agricultural surveys allows for greater understanding of women’s participation in major decisions on the holding.

The results from the field test in Uganda suggest that, indeed, the standard approach of only asking for the holder overlooks the complexity around gender and decision-making within the household and severely underestimates women’s participation in major decisions.  Based on a final sample of 471 households in the districts of Bukedea, Kamelia, Buikwe in the Eastern Region, 29 percent of the holders are female.  However, when the holder is asked who the primary decision-makers of agriculture and livestock activities are across all the activities, in 11 percent of holdings men are the only primary decision-makers across all the activities, in 67 percent of the holdings both men and women are primary decision-makers, and in 19 percent of the holdings women are the only primary decision-makers.  Overall, women are primary decision-makers of agriculture and livestock activities (either solely or jointly with men) in 86 percent of the holdings.

With interest in incorporating the decision-making questions as well as other gender modules into its Annual Agricultural Survey (AAS), UBOS invited the Global Strategy to participate in a workshop to discuss proposals for engendering tools.  As a result, Uganda is one of the first countries to incorporate many gender decision-making questions and other gender dimensions into its agricultural surveys.