Academic Leadership: The Online Journal




Rural areas are usually referred to as small, inward-looking, and idyllic communities held together by kinship relations and supporting basic agricultural occupations (Ekong, 2003). The characteristic features that differentiate rural from urban areas include: size, particularly areas inhabited by the people, low population density, homogeneity, presence of few social classes, low standard of living, presence of few / no social amenities such as electricity, pipe-borne water, low social mobility, mainly agrarian in nature – producing the bulk of food consumed in urban areas and the attendant drifting of young able-men to cities in order to benefit from the urban resources and modern life. People living in rural areas are characterised by low capital investment, low savings, and low production. The poverty level is usually higher among women than men. Women continue to struggle with dual responsibilities of economic production and domestic labour, while most of them are confronted by poverty, illiteracy, high health risks, inadequate access to productive resources, and lack of credit/market access. Land ownership in rural areas determines the asset for production as well as access to credit and agricultural support services and the social power to negotiate for resources and membership in decision-making agencies. Paradoxically, most countries still lack adequate provision for women to hold land rights independently of their husbands or male relatives. Statutory laws often do not ensure independent land rights for women (FFTC, 2008). Also, technological development and extension programs have not been responsive to household drudgery associated with different production activities undertaken by women. Persisting gender biases, deep-seated community dynamics and time constraints prevent women from actively participating in programmes intended to bring about social capital benefits and female empowerment.


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