GENDER CHALLENGES FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT POLICY
The article is devoted to the problem of gender inequality on rural areas and argued the necessity of forming gender sensitive rural development policy. Based on existing theories of institutionalism, the authors characterized gender as a social institute, forming the structure of rural society. The importance of gender equality for progressive rural growth of rural areas, effective use of women’s human capital in development of rural communities is underlined. Methodological frameworks of research are formed on the basis of rural development, gender economy and institutional theories. Adopted methodological approach of United Nations Development Program to gender inequality index calculation is used for integrated evaluation the gender inequality in reproductive health, political empowerment, and economic activity on labor market in rural areas. Research results indicate permanent character of the gender inequality problem in rural society and it dependence from situation in rural economy system. Gender asymmetries in economic activity and educational attainment of rural population, it participation in political initiatives and decision-making, demographic processes caused the regional differentiation of gender inequality problem. Indicated gender problems are characterized as the challenges for growth of rural areas and should be taken into account in the process of forming rural development policy, transforming it from gender neutral to gender sensitive. Key points of such a policy are implementation of the gender mainstreaming concept in rural development policy; forming an inclusive model of rural economy development and social cohesion; diversification of rural labor market; stimulating transfer of knowledge and innovation.