Improving Gender Equity in Malawi's Input Subsidies
Women in Malawi have historically been marginalized from income-generating economic activities, despite making up more than 70% of the agricultural labour force and being central to sustaining their households’ livelihoods. Post-marriage settlement customs have preserved these gender inequalities. Some couples follow matrilocal traditions, i.e., move to the wife’s community after marriage. Women in matrilocal communities should have greater control over production inputs, such as land. However, men’s influence in their extended families reduces women’s decision-making power over both agricultural inputs and outputs, such as income from crops sold on the market. Women in patrilocal communities also have weak decision-making power over agricultural outputs. If women continue to be disempowered, they and their children are at greater risk of food insecurity and continued poverty. A team of local PEP researchers investigated the impact of Farm Input Subsidies on gender equality in Malawi. As the country transitions to the Affordable Inputs Programme, their research findings highlight the need to update policies to be more gender- sensitive.