Engendering agricultural research

Engendering agricultural research

This paper makes a case for increased gender equity throughout agricultural research and development systems, in order to address gender norms affecting how men and women engage with and are recognised within these systems. For example research needs to examine and address gender inequities in relation to: the ownership and management of farms and natural resources; the staffing and conducting of research and extension; and the needs and preferences of male and female farmers and agricultural workers.

 In sections two and three it reviews the evidence on why it is important to pay attention to gender issues in agriculture and why it is necessary to recognise women's distinct food-security roles throughout value chains - for both food and non-food crops, and for marketed and non-marketed commodities. Value chains encompass the full range of activities, services and relationships required to bring a food product from its origin to its sale in the final markets. Gender-based constraints on women, including limited time, mobility, access to resources, along with restrictive traditional gender role and norms and the threat of gender-based violence, limit women's roles in various stages of value chains. In section four the authors examine whether research institutions effectively factor women's needs and priorities into their work. Sections 5-8 demonstrate the need to integrate gender into each stage of research and development systems, including in: setting agricultural priorities; conducting the research itself; designing, implementing, and adopting extension services; and evaluating impacts.

It concludes with recommendations:

  • Meet the needs of male and female farmers using a gender mainstreaming approach incorporating four enabling factors: political will, technical capacity, accountability, and organisational culture.
  • Involve women in agricultural research and development, specifically aiming to increase numbers of women as scientists at research centres, in decision-making positions in various institutions, and generally in participatory processes.
  • Support gender-responsive agriculture research systems to stimulate thinking beyond production agriculture to consider gender roles in relation to the following areas: natural resource management; food processing and preserving; value chains; linkages to health and nutrition; and in supporting policies and institutions. 
  • Increase partnerships between international research institutions, national agricultural research systems, universities, NGOs, government agencies, and the private sector