Gendered mobilities and immobilities: Women’s and men’s capacities for agricultural innovation in Kenya and Nigeria
Social norms surrounding women’s and men’s mobility in public spaces often differ. Here we discuss how gendered mobilities and immobilities influence women’s and men’s capacities to innovate in agriculture. We analyze four case studies from Western Kenya and Southwestern Nigeria that draw on 28 focus group discussions and 32 individual interviews with a total of 225 rural and peri-urban women, men and youth. Findings show that women in both sites are less mobile than men due to norms that delimit the spaces where they can go, the purpose, length of time and time of day of their travels. Overall, Kenyan women and Nigerian men have better access to agricultural services and farmer groups than their gendered counterparts. In Southwestern Nigeria this is linked to masculine roles of heading and providing for the household and in Western Kenya to the construction of women as the ‘developers’ of their households. Access and group participation may reflect norms and expectations to fulfill gender roles rather than an individual’s agency. This may (re)produce mobility pressures on time constrained gendered subjects. Frameworks to analyze factors that support women’s and men’s agency should be used to understand how gendered mobilities and immobilities are embedded in community contexts and affect engagement in agricultural innovation. This can inform the design of interventions to consider the ways in which norms and agency intersect and influence women’s and men’s mobilities, hence capacity to innovate in agriculture, thus supporting more gender transformative approaches.