THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE FAMILY FARM OF THE MOUNTAIN REGION OF CYPRUS

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1 AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS REPORT 39 ISSN THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE FAMILY FARM OF THE MOUNTAIN REGION OF CYPRUS A. Antoniades and Chr. Papayiannis AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, NATURAL RESOURCES AND THE ENVIRONMENT NICOSIA CYPRUS JULY 2000

2 Editor - in Chief Dr A.P. Mavrogenis, Agricultural Research Institute, Nicosia, Cyprus. All responsibility for the information in this publication remains with the author(s). The use of trade names does not imply endorsement of or discrimination against any product by the Agricultural Research Institute. 2

3 THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE FAMILY FARM OF THE MOUNTAIN REGION OF CYPRUS A. Antoniades and Chr. Papayiannis SUMMARY The present study refers to the mountain zone of Cyprus and aims to analyse the position of rural women in agriculture and rural development. It examines their personal and family characteristics and their attitudes towards on-farm employment. It also investigates their role in the farm household, their perception of public participation and their stance to new roles that are emerging for the rural females as a result of social change. The data for the study were obtained through personal interviews from a sample of randomly selected women distributed over the four regions of the mountainous zone. Women in the zone were aged, with 44% being over 63 years old. Regional variation in the age structure of women was mainly due to differences in the development and prosperity from one region to another. The vast majority (82.9%) were at the same time housewives and farmers and only 13% of them were fully or partly employed in off-farm jobs. Younger women had off-farm jobs at a higher percentage mainly due to higher level of education and improved opportunities to choose their own employment status. Though less than 3% received no education at all, 61% of the rural women attended only primary school. Their level of education was closely related to age, with younger respondent having had higher level of formal education. As regards vocational agricultural education, 3 out of 10 attended training courses. Women s role in the family farm tended to be flexible. In addition to domestic work and children care, women were involved in farm operations. However, their involvement in farm administration was extremely low. Rural women participation in the decision making for farm and household day-to-day operations was high but, decisions related to the improvements of household facilities or on farm investments continue to be the domain of men. Nevertheless, 40.0% of them stated that have equal with men responsibility in the management of the farm budget. Public participation of rural women was relatively high, with 60% being members of local organisations, mainly local co-operatives. Public participation of women was related to age. Nearly 72.0% of the women below forty were members of public institutions compared to 47.7% of those over 63. Women prefer to be members of local co-operatives because they evaluate more positively the role of local co-operatives to the local economy and society. ΠΕΡΙΛΗΨΗ Η παρούσα µελέτη αναφέρεται στην ορεινή ζώνη της Κύπρου και αναλύει τη θέση της Αγρότισσας στη γεωργία και την αγροτική και κοινωνική ανάπτυξη της υπαίθρου. Εξετάζει τα προσωπικά και οικογενειακά της χαρακτηριστικά καθώς και την αντίληψή της γύρω από θέµατα που σχετίζονται µε την απασχόληση στην εκµετάλλευση. Ερευνά, επίσης, το ρόλο της στο νοικοκυριό και τη γεωργική εκµετάλλευση, τις αντιλήψεις της για τη συµµετοχή στα κοινά και τη στάση της απέναντι στο ρόλο που της επιφυλάσσει η κοινωνία της υπαίθρου στα πλαίσια µιας επερχόµενης κοινωνικής αλλαγής. Τα στοιχεία για τη µελέτη λήφθηκαν µε προσωπικές συνεντεύξεις από ένα τυχαίο δείγµα αγροτισσών κατανεµηµένο στις 4 περιφέρειες της ορεινής ζώνης. Τις αγρότισσες στην περιοχή αυτή χαρακτηρίζει η σχετικά µεγάλη ηλικία αφού, το 44% ήταν µεγαλύτερες των 63 ετών. Περιφερειακές διαφοροποιήσεις που παρατηρήθηκαν στη διάρθρωση των ηλικιών δυνατό να αποδοθούν στο διαφορετικό επίπεδο ανάπτυξης και οικονοµικής ευµάρειας. Η µεγάλη Ιλειοψηφία των αγροτισσών (82,9%) 3

4 απασχολούνταν ταυτόχρονα στο νοικοκυριό και τη γεωργική εκµετάλλευση και µόνο το 13% είχαν µερική ή ολική αιασχόληση σε άλλους τοµείς της οικονοµίας. Οι Ιιο νέες σε ηλικία γυναίκες είχαν εξωγεωργική αιασχόληση σε µεγαλύτερο Ιοσοστό, λόγω κυρίως ψηλότερου µορφωτικού ειιιέδου και σε ειέκταση µεγαλύτερης δυνατότητας να ειιλέξουν οι ίδιες το καθεστώς αιασχόλησης τους. Παρ όλο Ιου µόνο 3% δεν είχαν αιολύτως καµιά µόρφωση, το 61% ήταν αιλά αιόφοιτοι δηµοτικού σχολείου. Το επίπεδο εκπαίδευσης βρέθηκε να είναι συνειφασµένο µε την ηλικία, µε τις πιο νέες να έχουν ψηλότερο µορφωτικό επίπεδο. Αναφορικά µε το βαθµό άτυπης γεωργικής εκπαίδευσης, 3 στις 10 γυναίκες είχαν παρακολουθήσει κάποιας µορφής µαθήµατα επαγγελµατικής κατάρτισης ή εκπαίδευσης. Ο ρόλος της αγρότισσας στην οικογενειακή γεωργική εκµετάλλευση παρουσιάζεται ως ένα βαθµό πολυδιάστατος. Πρόσθετα από τις οικιακές ασχολίες και τη φροντίδα των παιδιών, επιτελούσαν σηµαντικό έργο σε σχέση µε την εκτέλεση της καθαρά γεωργικής εργασίας. Όµως, η ανάµιξη τους σε θέµατα διοίκησης της εκµετάλλευσης ήταν σηµαντικά περιορισµένη. Ο βαθµός συµµετοχής τους στη λήψη αποφάσεων που σχετίζονται µε τις καθηµερινές γεωργικές δραστηριότητες και τις εργασίες στο νοικοκυριό ήταν γενικά ψηλός, αλλά, αποφάσεις για βελτίωση και επέκταση των οικιακών εγκαταστάσεων και για γεωργικές επενδύσεις εξακολουθεί να αποτελεί υπόθεση των ανδρών. Ανεξάρτητα όµως από τα πιο πάνω αποτελέσµατα της µελέτης, 40% των γυναικών δήλωσαν πως έχουν ίσο βαθµό ευθύνης στη διαχείριση του οικογενειακού προϋπολογισµού. Η συµµετοχή των αγροτισσών στα κοινά ήταν σχετικά µεγάλη, µε το 60% να είναι µέλη τοπικών οργανισµών, κυρίως συνεργατικών ιδρυµάτων και εταιρειών. Η συµµετοχή τους στα κοινά επηρεαζόταν από την ηλικία. Σχεδόν 72% των γυναικών ηλικίας κάτω των 40 ετών ήταν µέλη κοινοφελών σωµάτων, σε σύγκριση µε µόνο 47% των ηλικίας άνω των 63 ετών. Η συµµετοχή τους ως µέλη των συνεργατικών οφείλεται στην εκτίµησή που έχουν για τη θετική επίδραση των οργανισµών αυτών στην τοπική οικονοµία και κοινωνία. INTRODUCTION The family farm is the typical production unit in Cypriot agriculture, with the farm family being the main agricultural labour 4 source. Out of a total number of 27,552 (Department of Statistics and Research, 1999) engaged in agriculture (8.9 percent of the total economicaly active population), 77.5% were farmers or members of the farm family. Rural women account for 16.5% of the total population and constitute substantial and integral part of the country s labour force. They account for 15% of the total female or 6% of national labour force (Aristotelous, 1994). Despite women s important contribution to family farming and rural life, their work is generally undervalued. Usually, in using the concept of labour for statistical purposes, the significant portion of women s work necessary for housekeeping, household maintenance and children s care is ignored. Even female labour used for a wide variety of tasks in the sphere of production is neglected, not recognized or merely considered complementary to male family members work. The Mountain zone extends over the higher slopes of the Troodos massif. It comprises 66 communities with a total population of or 3.2% of the country s population (Department of Statistics and Research, 1994). This population, however, is constantly declining. About 5,500 small size agricultural holdings operate in the zone with a total cultivated land of around 12,000 ha. Based on the prevailing agroclimatic conditions and the geographic features of the area, the Mountain zone is divided into four more or less homogeneous agroeconomic regions, namely the Solea, Marathasa, Pitsilia and Deciduous. The major objective of the study at hand is to present an empirical analysis of the position of women in the rural society and their contribution to agricultural activities in the mountain region of Cyprus. Specific objectives of the study were: (a) to identify the personal and family characteristics of rural women, (b) to study the contribution of the rural females to the family farm and the rural household, (c) to examine the women s participation in the decision-making within their household and the farm, and (d) to measure the degree of public participation in local institutions. METHODOLOGY The mountain zone of Cyprus was chosen as the survey area due to its particular characteristics. Contrary to the other zones, where commercialised farming prevails, in this zone the family type of farming predominates. Agriculture in the Mountain zone is

5 Table 1. Sample size and number of respondents by Region Respondents Region Sample size No. % Solea Marathasa Pitsilia Deciduous trees Total practiced as a rather residual form of traditional activity, and constitutes a survival strategy for the rural household. Using the 1994 Census of Agriculture as frame, a sample of 286 agricultural holdings was drawn, through a random systematic sampling procedure. At a first stage, out of the 66 communities of the region 22 were systematically selected. Of the holdings in the selected communities, those with Standard Gross Margin less than 1,200 EURO (1 Economic Size Unit) were excluded from consideration. At a second stage, a random sample of 15% of the holdings in each community was selected. The distribution of the sample by region and the number of respondents is given in Table 1. The head woman of each sampled agricultural household provided the sampling unit. All the required information was obtained in a single visit personal interview through a specially designed questionnaire, consisting of three sections: The first section included questions on personal, family and household details; the second section dealt with information concerning the farm and farm operations; the third section covered the women s employment, involvement in the management and decision-making and public participation. Public participation was measured by the degree of their membership in local organizations. The interviews took the form of unstructured conversations aiming to gain an insight into aspects of the women s status. One-way and two-way classification and cross-section contingency tables (Chisquare) were used for statistical analysis of all the collected data. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Personal and family characteristics of rural women The great majority (44%) of women in the Mountain zone were over 63 years old while another 16% were between 55 and 63 years. The percentage of women under the age of 34 was relatively small (14%). Significant differences were observed in the age structure of rural women in the four regions of the mountain zone. Thus, in Marathasa region women over the age of 63 accounted for about 63% and only one out of three reported age below 55 yeas. On the contrary, in the Deciduous region aged women (over 63 years) were less than 30% with women under 45 accounting for almost 50% (Table 2.) This can be explained by the fact that communities of the Marathasa region are characterised by remoteness to an extent, depopulation, soil and climatic conditions that lead to low agricultural incomes and lack of adequate infrastructure. The positive effects of the Pitsilia Integrated Rural Development Project in the 1980s is reflected in the age structure of rural women in the respective region, where it presents the most smooth distribution. As regards marital status, almost eighty percent of women were married, and about 17% divorced or widowed (Table 3). The relatively low percentage of single women Table 2. Distribution of respondents by region and age Age (years) No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) under 34 4 (7.5) 6 (9.0) 20 (18.2) 6 (27.3) 36 (14.3) (7.5) 8 (11.9) 14 (12.7) 4 (18.2) 30 (11.9) (17.0) 8 (11.9) 16 (14.5) 2 (9.1) 35 (13.9) (26.4) 3 (4.5) 19 (17.3) 4 (18.2) 40 (15.9) Over (41.5) 42 (62.7) 41 (37.3) 6 (27.3) 111 (44.0) X 2 = ; df = 12; P

6 Table 3. Distribution of respondents by region and marital status Marital status No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) Single 1 (1.9) 4 (6.0) 3 (2.7) 1 (4.5) 9 (3.6) Married 47 (88.7) 48 (71.6) 87 (79.1) 19 (86.4) 201 (79.8) Divorced/ widowed 5 (9.4) 15 (22.4) 20 (18.2) 2 (9.1) 42 (16.7) Table 4. Distribution of respondents by region and number of children Children (No.) No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) (63.3) 29 (46.8) 69 (65.1) 18 (85.7) 147 (61.8) Over 3 18 (36.7) 33 (53.2) 37 (34.9) 3 (14.3) 91 (38.2) Total 49 (100.0) 62 (100.0) 106 (100.0) 21 (100.0) 238 (100.0) X 2 = ; df = 3; P (3.6%) was expected due to the limited number of young women among the female population of the zone. No significant regional variation was found in single and married women but divorced or widowed in Marathasa and Pitsilia were double compared to Solea and Deciduous regions. Nearly 98 percent of the married and divorced or widowed respondents have on average 3.5 children (Table 4). In Marathasa they had the highest mean number of children (3.6) with 53% of the respondents having four or more children. In Deciduous region women had the lowest number of children (2.7) as only 14% of them had more than 3. This is due to the fact that women in this region are on average younger than the women of the other regions. In Solea and Pistilia regions families with more than 3 children was just above one third. The number of children in the rural family was affected by the age structure and that tradition, but not economic prosperity, constitute a factor affecting their decision on the number of children to have. Concerning the occupational status, the vast majority of the rural women in the mountain zone were, further to their responsibilities as housewives, involved in farm activities (Table 5). Only around 10-15% were employed in off-farm jobs. This trend was almost the same in all four regions of the Table 5. Distribution of rural women by region and occupational status Occupation No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) Housewife 3 (5.6) 4 (6.0) 0 1 (4.5) 8 (3.2) Housewife and farmer 40 (75.5) 53 (79.1) 97 (88.2) 19 (86.4) 209 (82.9) Full-time farmer 1 (1.9) 2 (3.0) (1.2) Farmer with off-farm job 9 (17.0) 8 (11.9) 13 (11.8) 2 (9.1) 32 (12.7) 6

7 Table 6. Education level of rural women by region Level of education No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) None 1 (1.9) 3 (4.5) 3 (2.7) - 7 (2.8) Primary 26 (49.1) 39 (58.2) 71 (64.5) 18 (81.8) 154 (61.1) Secondary 19 (35.8) 23 (34.3) 33 (30.0) 4 (18.2) 79 (31.3) Tertiary 7 (13.2) 2 (3.0) 3 (2.7) - 12 (4.8) mountain zone. However, as males use to monopolise the occupation of farmer, women are, or at least reported so, frequently assigned the role of assistant to their husband who is perceived as the farmer. Women reported as farmers were only a few exceptions. Although they are working on the farm and contribute significantly to production, they have no income of their own and no independent status in social security. Detailed analysis of the type of women s off-farm job showed that 43.8% are employed in the private or public sector as workers, 34.4% are self-employed in other occupation and 21.9% civil servants or employees in semi-governmental organizations. Off-farm employment was closely linked to age. Younger women are more likely to have an off-farm job. Thus, 45% of those below 44 years have off-farm jobs, compared to 8.2% of those over 63 years. Definitely, younger women have higher education, therefore increased opportunities to choose their own labour situation. Another push factor is the decreasing income from farming which forces women to seek offfarm employment in order to contribute to the income of the farm household (Efstratoglou, 1990). However, attitudes of the new generation towards work as well as personal and economic independence should not be neglected. Significant differences do exist between the type off-farm jobs and age of respondents. Almost 64% of the unspecialised workers in private or public sector are over 63 years old as against 14.3% of women under 44 years. Half of the respondents stated that their income earned from off-farm jobs is partly used for supporting their family income, and part of that is kept for the satisfaction of own personal needs. Regarding women s motivation for offfarm work, farm-women assigned the highest importance to financial motives. These motives should not be looked at as independent from the need for social approval and recognition, which, in turn, increases their self worth and personal fulfilment (Efstratoglou, 1999). Indeed, 53.8% of the women with off-farm job believe that by having their own income they secure economic independence. The remainder considered that by choosing to have an off-farm job they ensure for themselves better work conditions and personal satisfaction while strengthening of the family income was reported as another major reason, mainly by the group of housewives. The lack of offfarm job opportunities in the study area was indicated as the main constraint for not having off-farm job by 45.8% of the women working mainly on the farm and by 35.1% the housewives. Age and lack of qualifications were some other constraints underlined mainly by women working on the farm. Sixty percent of the respondents had only primary school education and one third secondary school education. Women in Solea region had tertiary education at a much higher percentage (7%), while in Marathasa and Pitsilia regions about 60% attended only primary school. Education in general is related to the age, with younger people more likely to have higher level of formal education (Table 6). The effect of age on the level of education was examined through further analysis of the data. It was found that there was a strong association of the two variables. The percentage of women with secondary or higher education decreased from 70% in the age group under 44 to 40 percent in the age group and to only 20% in the age group over 63 years. Vocational agricultural education (training) of the rural women was also examined. Only 7

8 Table 7. Agricultural vocational education of women by region Agricultural education No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) Yes 6 (11.3) 18 (26.9) 48 (43.6) 5 (22.7) 77 (30.6) No 47 (88.7) 49 (73.1) 62 (56.4) 17 (77.3) 175 (69.4) X 2 = ; df = 3; P Table 8. Household decision making by type of decision and decision maker Improvement Decision of household Education of Domestic Budget maker facilities children work management No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) Herself 47 (18.7) 123 (51.7) 197 (78.2) 119 (47.2) Husband 118 (46.8) 33 (13.8) 3 (1.2) 45 (17.9) Both 87 (34.5) 82 (34.5) 52 (20.6) 88 (34.9) Total 252 (100.0) 238 (100.0) 252 (100.0) 252 (100.0) 3 out of 10 women in the zone were received agricultural education, with significant regional variation (Table 7). In Solea region only 11.3% reported vocational training, while in Marathasa and Deciduous regions the percentage of women with agricultural education increased to 26.9 and 22.7%, respectively. Respectably highest was the percentage among the respondents in Pitsilia region (43.6%). The existence of the Pitsilia Agricultural Training Centre, which was established as a component of the Pitsilia Integrated Rural Development Project and is run by the Department of Agriculture, seems to offer good training opportunities. Overall, vocational education of rural women was slightly related to age. About 37% of the women at the age brackets below 44 and and only 23% of those over 63 had some sort of agricultural training. However, considerable regional variation was observed with regard to training- age relationship. In Solea region, the percentage of women with agricultural education did not exceed 13% in any of the age classes. In Marathasa and Deciduous regions trained women between 45 and 63 years old were to 36 and 50%, respectively. Substantially different was the situation in Pitsilia region 8 where, 60% of the rural women below 44 years and 48% of those between 45 and 63 years had agricultural training. Trained women above the age of 63 at the highest percentage (27%) were found in both the Marathasa and Pitsilia regions. The above results indicate a relatively high motivation of rural women towards education and training in agriculture that could be explained as a will for better management of their farms, therefore increased farm income. Participation in decision-making and gender division of labour In most families, farm women, whether heads of farm household or just housewives, are responsible for the domestic work, the education of children and the management of family s budget. Decision-making for the improvement of household facilities still remains the domain of the men (Table 8). Women are usually over burdened with domestic work, which includes care of children and parents, household tasks, care of the home garden etc. Most of the women in the sample (76%) had no help for household work, while 14% are assisted from other family members. In 8% of the families, older children, mainly daughters, assist their moth-

9 Table 9. Decision making by type of decision and decision maker Decision Farm Cultivation On farm Budget maker improvements work investments management No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) Herself 21 (8.3) 19 (7.5) 12 (4.8) 18 (7.1) Husband 222 (88.1) 208 (82.6) 187 (74.2) 135 (53.6) Both 9 (3.6) 25 (9.9) 53 (21.0) 99 (39.3) Total 252 (100.0) 252 (100.0) 252 (100.0) 252 (100.0) Table 10. Involvement of women by region and type of farm activity Type of farm activity No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) Field work 30 (69.8) 46 (83.6) 69 (69.0) 15 (71.4) 160 (73.1) Farm administration 13 (30.2) 9 (16.4) 31 (31.0) 6 (28.6) 59 (26.9) Total 43 (100.0) 55 (100.0) 100 (100.0) 21 (100.0) 219 (100.0) ers in carrying out the day-to-day household operations. Only 2% of the husbands contribute to household work. It can be concluded that traditional attitudes towards household work prevail in the mountain region of Cyprus, with household work being considered as an exclusive women s responsibility. However, the percentage of women participating in decision making for the improvement of household facilities is no longer negligible. In general, women do not participate in decision-making related to farm production activities. Only a few women (8.3%) decided themselves on farm improvements such as the buying of machinery (Table 9). Even fewer were those deciding on crop cultivation and on-farm investments. However, 40.0 percent of them stated that have equal responsibility in the management of the farm budget. A possible explanation is that budget decisions are treated as a major issue that concerns the entire family. Therefore, decisions have to be made more collectively, whereas less important decisions are usually made by the male head of the farm. In the case of women who run the farm and the household themselves, all decisions were made by them. The involvement of women in the farm operations was closely related to the farm size. Women operating on bigger size farms had much greater participation in carrying out the various farm operations than those operating on smaller size farms Women are involved in farm operations, mainly harvesting, rather than in farm administration or management, with no significant regional differences in this respect (Table 10). Further analysis of the data showed that the willingness of rural women to undertake field- work was associated with age, with younger women rejecting or ready to abandon it. About 58% of the respondents under 44 years old are not involved in field- work as against 13.6% of those over 63 years. Younger women in all regions were more willing to get involved in farm administrative/management tasks. The vast majority (89.3 percent) of the respondents were running some kind of nonagricultural enterprise, with only minor differences among regions (Table 11). As regards the type of women s non-agricultural enterprise, 62.6% have developed cottage agro-industries, 29.0% handicraft and 8.4% agro-tourism activities. Almost 84% stated that they were entirely responsible for the management of these enterprises. For the remaining 16% the responsibility lies with their husbands or children. These kind of activities involve the professionalisation of occupations in the informal economy with which women have always been engaged and through which have played an important part in establishing heterogeneity in European agriculture and the conservation of the cultural heritage, which modernization has today 9

10 Table 11. Presence of non-agricultural enterprise by region Presence of nonfarm enterprise No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) Yes 43 (81.1) 62 (92.5) 101 (91.8) 19 (86.4) 225 (89.3) No 10 (18.9) 5 (7.5) 9 (8.2) 3 (13.6) 27 (10.7) Table 12. Women s public participation by region Membership to local organisations No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) Yes 25 (47.2) 44 (65.7) 65 (59.1) 18 (81.8) 152 (60.3) No 28 (52.8) 23 (34.3) 45 (40.9) 4 (18.2) 100 (39.7) X 2 = ; df = 3; P eroded to an incredible degree. Women have considerable ability in converting these local resources into marketable commodities, as well as facility in building interpersonal relationships and professionalizing the role of the housewife. They have an anthropocentric approach to country life and are more sensitive than men to issues of diet and environment (Fonter et al., 1994). On the other hand, the professionalization of these occupations contributes to change in the structure of relations and transforms the women of the household from an unpaid accessory into comanager of the family business (Bock, 1994). The existence and running of non-agricultural enterprises was affected by the farm size. Rural women on smaller size farms run non-agricultural enterprise at a higher percentage compared to those on larger farms. Naturally, women farming of small area have lower farm income and by developing parallel to farming activities aim to earn suplementary income. The motives of rural women for the development and management of small businesses was related to family financing but also, to a lesser extent, to personal or professional fulfilment. Public participation of women The extent of women s public participation is indicated by their presence in the local organizations of their regions. Three types of organizational forms appear in the study 10 areas: (a) local co-operatives, (b) religious association and (c) parents association. The majority (60.3%) of all respondents reported membership in local organizations. Irrespective of regional differences in the percentage of participation and despite nonexistence of comparable historical data in the area, women s public participation appears to be relatively high (Table 12). Evidently, results showed progress and considerable improvement in the social structure of mountainous regions. Women s high rates of participation in local organizations, indicates their will to contribute to rural development and take part in planning processes and local development programmes. The rate of participation of women under 63 years old (70%) was significantly higher than that of elder women (47.7%, Table 13). Still, public participation (48%) of old women was impressive. Therefore, rural women of the mountain zone, irrespective of age, are presented to have aspirations over an independent social position within their community and try to create a social environment that could rescue them from economic and social exclusion. Further analysis by type of local organization in which women were members showed that over two thirds hold membership in either local co-operatives (69.1%) or religious organisations (11.8%) or parent s association (6.6%). The remaining 12.5% were members in more than one type of institu-

11 Table 13. Women s public participation by age Under 44 years years Over 63 years Total Participation No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) No. (%) Yes 47 (71.2) 52 (69.3) 53 (47.7) 152 (60.3) No 19 (28.8) 23 (30.7) 58 (52.3) 100 (39.7) Total 66 (100.0) 75 (100.0) 111 (100.0) 252 (100.0) X 2 = ; df = 2; P tions. Female members of local co-operatives reported as main reasons for their participation the lack of male members of the family (widows, divorced, unmarried), the illiteracy or old age of the male family members and the land ownership. Other membership reasons were the facilities offered by co-operatives like security, credit, marketing and processing of products etc. The size of farmland was found to be an important factor affecting women s attendance of meetings of local co-operatives. Women attending the meetings (25%) owned significantly larger farms (4.02 ha) than nonattending (1.79 ha). It is evident that women operating bigger farms realise better the importance of the local co-operatives and the support the organisations may provide. Therefore, their participation is more active. As regards the benefits conferred by local cooperatives to members, women believe these are not much the direct or pecuniary benefit in the form of a bonus at the end of the financial year or in the form of lower prices, but the indirect ones, which although essentially economic, are intangible. Such intangible benefits were reported the familiarisation of the peasant-producer to cash payments, the practising of thrift, the demonstration of better methods of cultivation, the widening of knowledge in farming and finally, as a result of the dependence of the movement on self-help, the changing of rural life and the provision of incentives for effective and efficient work. Despite above benefits, active participation referred to only one forth of the respondents. Their poor attendance records were due to: a) time limitations imposed by domestic work and b) the traditional attitudes of the society towards public participation of the rural women which prevail particularly among old generation people. The great majority (91.7%) of women members of local co-operatives over 63 years old stated as main reason for their non active participation in the meetings, the participation of their husbands. The same reason was reported by only 46.2% percent for those under 40 years. CONCLUSIONS In rural societies, as in other society segments, the limited recognition and nonrespect of women s contribution is deeply rooted in tradition and patriarchy. In the case of Cyprus, rural women have considerable participation in the development process. The majority of them have three basic tasks: bearing and rearing children; caring of the farm family; and work on the farm and help the community. Also, farm women make every effort to develop parallel to farming activities such as, agro-processing, agrotourism, and marketing farm produce. They frequently play a very positive role in social and cultural organizations, thus contributing to keeping communities alive. However, the contribution of rural women in family farming as well as in the society is, sometimes, ignored or neglected by the society. Women fit poorly into work and economic activities. The social relations that are necessary for a proper structure of the farm household and the family, therefore the rural society, seem to be at a relatively low level due to tradition and prejudice in favour of the men who are considered as the farmers or the heads of household. Based on the findings of this study, some policy considerations that may improve women s position in the family farm and promote their integration into the rural society of the mountain region include: 1. Improvement of the professional and social status of women by providing them with individual entitlements to income through taxation incentives and to 11

12 social security schemes. 2. Establishment of associations networks for farmwomen to improve their representation in rural development and in decision-making. Networks are required for better communication, share of information, advice and guide inter- and intra regionally. 3. Representation at the decision-making levels so as to break their social exclusion. 4. Acceptance of women s participation in the planning processes for local development programs and initiative actions. 5. Restructuring of the vocational training in the rural areas to incorporate courses, advice and information on market oriented skills, relevant to women response to labour demand on farm work and off-farm activities. 6. Shift of agricultural training from the traditional form of home economics to farming techniques, production of new products (organic farming), farm management, farm administration, investments, planning and other important for the rural life actions. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT The authors wish to extend their appreciation to Mrs P. Pengerou, Miss P. Phillipou, Mrs E. Photiou and Mr P. Shiskos for collecting the data. Sincere thanks are also expressed to rural women of the mountain zone, whose participation in the survey and co-operation made this study possible. REFERENCES Aristotelous, P Women in Agriculture. National Report on the State of Women in Agriculture and the Rural Sector. Ministry of Agriculture Natural Resources and Environment, Nicosia. Bock, B Female Farming in Urban Agriculture: In Rural Gender Studies in Europe (L. van der Plas and M. Fonte, eds), pp The Netherlands. Department of Statistics and Research Agricultural Statistics Ministry of Finance, Nicosia. 194 p. Department of Statistics and Research Population Census Ministry of Finance, Nicosia. 245 p. Efstratoglou, S Labour Situation and Strategies of Farm Women in Diversified Rural Areas of Europe. In Final Report of the Research Programme DEMETRA (G. Overbeek, S. Efstratoglou, M.S Haugen and E. Saraceno, eds). pp Brussels. Efstratoglou, S Pluriactivity in Different Socio-economic Contexts: a Test of the Push-Pull Hypothesis in Greek Farming. Journal of Rural Studies 6: Fonter, M., M. Minderhoud - Jones, L. van der Plas, and L. van der Ploeg The Menial and the Sublime. In Rural Gender Studies in Europe (L. van der Plas and M. Fonte, eds). pp The Netherlands. P.I.O. 114/ Issued by the Press and Information Office, Nicosia Printed by I.G. Kasoulides & Son Ltd, tel , Nicosia

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