A Global Agricultural Research Partnership

Women in agriculture? Yes, we can!

Female farmer in Rwanda

International Women’s day provides an opportunity for us to reflect on the link between women and agricultural research. This day also allows us to look at how CGIAR reform has provided an opportunity for collaborative and concerted action to promote and support the crucial role of women in our work by identifying and planning for research activities which would strengthen the gender strategies of the CGIAR Research Programs.

The 2012 World Development Report reminds us that “greater gender equality is also smart economics, enhancing productivity and improving other development outcomes, including prospects for the next generation and for the quality of societal policies and institutions. Economic development is not enough to shrink all gender disparities – corrective policies that focus on persisting gender gaps are essential”. Take the example of Malawi and Ghana: if women were to have the same access as men to fertilizers and other inputs, maize yields would increase by almost one-sixth.

Success in development programs targeting women is not uncommon, but comprehensive or wide-scale success is rare. That is why each of the fifteen new CGIAR research programs (CRPs) will include a gender strategy, and will be held accountable for it.
On the 12th March, gender representatives from all of the CRPs will meet in New Delhi to establish a new cross CRP gender network. The network will enable the gender components of the 15 programs to work together in a planned and linked manner.

However, we are not starting from scratch. CGIAR Research Programs will be building on quality gender research already taking place at several CGIAR Consortium research centers.

For example, CIFOR scientists examined the value chains of non-timber forest products in Africa. The team assessed the role of women, the benefits they gain and the challenges they face in securing their livelihoods through the trade.
The study suggested practical ways to build economic opportunities for women.

In another example, the Worldfish Center is working with Save the Children on a five–year, USAID-funded food security program in one of Bangladesh’s most poverty stricken and disaster-prone areas. The goal is to maximize the participation of, and benefit, to poorer households with pregnant and lactating women or children below the age of two. The research is being used to identify employment opportunities for the poor, especially women; helping achieve food security, and reducing the incidence of malnutrition in children, which is highest in the country.

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, we also want to give three examples of the special women we work with in our research:

Join our centers and programs in honoring of the International Women’s Day:

Have also a read in “Our Growing Talents”, a booklet about “Youth in Agriculture” featuring nine young women working with us.

More inspiring stories of our research work with and for women:

Picture courtesy Neil Palmer/CIAT

5 Responses to Women in agriculture? Yes, we can!

  1. Andrew Ward says:

    It is great to see so much taking place and I am really looking forward to the network meeting next week to bring it all together as I am sure that by working together we can bring greater value to the CGIAR work with women and girls!

  2. [...] women power, mo’ better food security. ILRI leads the pack of CGIAR centres, but there’s loads of stuff [...]

  3. [...] women power, mo’ better food security. ILRI leads the pack of CGIAR centres, but there’s loads of stuff [...]

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