Back in 2009 I produced a research paper and policy analysis on gender equality while working for the Luxembourg Government in Northern Nicaragua. Having recently set-up this blog, I would like to use this space to share the results of this research.

The project I was working with focused on encouraging socioeconomic development through tourism, using community and participatory processes. These processes involved setting up committees in both departments and municipals across Northern Nicaragua. These committees were responsible for building development plans for their region, as such setting the aims, aspirations and means for this development. The committees were also responsible for administration of some aspects of the project’s funds, such as spending on departmental infrastructure and selection of beneficiaries for a micro-credit scheme.

The report I produced analysed the project data, looking both at its employees and committee members, to assess the extent to which gender equality was part of this development process. The full report is available (in Spanish) at the end of this post. However, I would like to point out here, a few interesting highlights.

1. Although the participants in the project’s committees were largely made up of equal numbers of men and women,  it became apparent that men were more likely to take on leadership roles within these committees and in most cases the Presidents of the committees were men.

2. Although men and women participated equally in the training provided by the project, men dominated the courses on business management, while women were the main recipients in the courses on cooking. The demonstrated a gendered approach, based on traditional roles in Nicaragua.

3. Despite a policy which encouraged the hiring of women, two-thirds of consultants contracted by the project were men.

4. Women involved in the project pointed out a higher sense of self-esteem from being involved in the project, which translated into their home life.

5. Women also pointed out that it was harder for women to participate due to issues such as childcare, the responsibility for which primarily fell on them.

The recommendations made by this study, included:

1. Better monitoring of gender issues within project operations;

2. Provision of daycare and other facilities to allow women with children to more easily participate;

3. Taking an approach which attempts to counter gender stereotypes in the roles that women assume within the project.

Full study available to download, in Spanish, shortly.

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