A certain tropical forest plantation in a country that I will not name offers all workers the opportunity to install gardens on fallow land to grow their own food. The organization has both male and female workers that perform similar tasks in the field. However, only men take advantage of the opportunity to garden on the organization’s fallow land. Why don’t the women? Through interviews, it was found that the women return home after shift to care for children and parents, prepare dinner, and do other chores. The women interviewed expressed interest in receiving other types of benefits, such as seeds, seedlings, and training in organic gardening so that they could garden at home or at a neighboring relative’s home.
According to Everyday Feminism, “Equity and equality are two strategies we can use in an effort to produce fairness. Equity is giving everyone what they need to be successful. Equality is treating everyone the same. Equality aims to promote fairness, but it can only work if everyone starts from the same place and needs the same help.”
So providing all workers with the opportunity to garden on the organization’s fallow land would be an example of equality, while allowing women to receive seeds, seedlings and/or training would be equity since it recognizes that women need different resources to benefit from the organization’s social program.
Yet there is a third option that may allow for equality and equity: allow all workers the choice to install an onsite garden plot or to receive seeds or seedlings for use at home. Then provide access to training at times convenient to worker groups.
What have been your experiences?