IAP for Research
The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Women for Science
Authoring Institution
Release Date
June 1, 2006

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  • Empowering women at the grassroots

    Mahatma Gandhi had a deep appreciation of the value of educating women: ‘When a man is educated, an individual is educated; when a woman is educated, a family and a country are educated.’ Such imparting of critical skills —in a word, empowerment—has three essential elements: a teaching method that fits the needs and circumstances of the audience; a teacher well versed in the required knowledge, who is able to engage the target audience; and the incorporation of the traditional knowledge and expertise of the students into the capacity-building effort.

    Moreover, certain common-sense principles of what technological skills to transfer, and to whom, apply to virtually all grassroots economic endeavours both urban and rural. If a developing country’s agriculture, for instance, is to be sustainable, skilled workers in its farming communities are needed. And given that women perform a large fraction of the farm activities, S&T tools (both literal and figurative) will add great value to the local knowledge of rural women and enable them to face the challenges of sustaining high levels of crop productivity.

    Thus rural women who own land may want to learn about seeds, fertilizer, water management, and pest control, while rural women who do not own land may want to acquire skills that enable them to establish businesses that make use of local agricultural processes and products.

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