Gender inclusive research to ensure the future we want

Farmer training. Bangladesh: S. Mojumder-Drik/CIMMYT

Investing in people

Ensuring that agricultural innovation benefits poor women and men requires investments at different levels. Spurring a greater body of gender research expertise among young scientists to better integrate gender within research activities is a vital part of this process. The CGIAR Gender Action Plan commits the CGIAR Gender and Agriculture Research Network to accelerate gender expertise, so as to both strengthen the cohort of young and emerging researchers and the gender component within the CGIAR Research Programs. The first round of the two-year CGIAR Consortium Gender postdoctoral fellowships was completed in early 2015. In an effort to complement and develop the expertise of these young researchers, the fellowships will offer mentoring by senior gender experts, both within and outside CGIAR.

Measuring women’s empowerment

The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), launched by CGIAR, the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative and USAID’s Feed the Future Initiative in 2012, is the first comprehensive, standardized measure of women’s empowerment and inclusion in the agricultural sector. It consists of two subindexes – one that measures how empowered women are within five domains and the other gauging gender parity in empowerment within the household. The baseline report, released in 2014, analyzes women’s empowerment in agriculture in 13 countries across five regions. This highly influential index has been adopted by 55 research and development organizations in 24 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Some examples of the use of its data include the analysis of the role of women’s empowerment in agriculture and child nutrition in Nepal, and how women’s empowerment in agriculture affects food security in Bangladesh.

Achieving gender equity in agriculture is not just about women; rather it’s about the balance of power between men and women, and the distribution of mutual benefits.

Enabling gender equality in agricultural and environmental innovation

GENNOVATE is a global research initiative on how gender norms and agency shape women’s and men’s innovation in agriculture and natural resource management. Carried out across 135 rural communities in 26 countries, through focus groups and individual interviews, the study is engaging roughly 6,000 rural women and men of different socio-economic backgrounds and age groups. Study participants reflect on and compare local women’s and men’s expected roles and behaviors — or gender norms— and how these social rules affect their ability to access, adopt, adapt and benefit from innovations in agricultural and natural resource management.

Turning from knowledge to action 

CGIAR investment in gender research contributes to the development and use of CRP innovations that are gender responsive and result in more gender equitable distribution of food and income. For example, we showed that improved maternal nutrition and reduced anemia and diarrhea in young children were associated with women’s increased ownership of productive assets, resulting in the design of new projects in Bangladesh and India. Gender research has also been mainstreamed in a number of influential tools, models and predictive studies, leading successfully to policy influence. CGIAR gender research was used by Oxfam in Indonesia to inform the Roundtable on Sustainable Oil Palm criteria, indicators and guidance, and helped to shape development of Peru’s national Climate Change Gender Action Plan.

Change in the making

change-in-the-makingTo provide CGIAR Fund donors and others with regular updates on important advances in research, the CGIAR Gender and Agriculture Research Network has begun a series of progress reports, called Change in the Making. These reports are being prepared in close consultation with gender researchers across CRPs, drawing on published findings from recent work, which network members are actively sharing with one another and the wider community of experts. The first issue of the series focuses on “gender-equitable control over productive assets and resources,” a key component of the intermediate development outcome on gender and equity in the CGIAR Strategy and Results Framework 2016-2030.

Visit or Change in the making for more information