In 2017, CGIAR took several steps forward in its integration of gender issues. A CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research was set up in January 2017i, housed in PIM and serving all CGIAR Research Programs and Centers. The aim of the platform is to increase impact and visibility of gender research undertaken across CGIAR. The platform supports priority setting for gender research, strategic partnerships, capacity development, and collaboration between and among CGIAR programs, Centers, and partners, building on work by the previous system-wide gender network. The platform held its first technical conference in December 2017, with 90 participants.

The platform also held a series of technical webinars on topics such as Gender, Technology, and Development and Gender mainstreaming in the Participatory Market Chain Approach (PMCA), and maintains a website with resources on gender research, as well as regular newsletters, blogs and community calls. The platform put out a first call for proposals for co-funded gender research from across CGIAR: in 2017 the focus was gender dynamics in seed systems, and five proposals were selected.

A message from CGIAR’s science leaders on the critical role that women play to ensure food and nutrition security across food value chains


A paper by a CGIAR researcher, Alessandra Galiè (ex-International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), now at International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)) on links between women’s empowerment and crop seed improvement and governance in pre-war Syria, won an Elsevier Atlas award in 2017 as “a research paper with outstanding potential for impacting people’s lives”.


Gender working groups were launched (or strengthened) across CGIAR on several specialist areas including:

– Gender and Breeding

– Gender, Agriculture and Climate Change

– Gender and (big) Data, including a blog on data and methods

– Gender Dynamics in Seed Systems

– Water and Gender

– GENNOVATE: a research initiative on gender norms and innovation


A4NH’s Gender Nutrition Idea Exchange blog also continued a steady growth of readership since it was launched in 2014. There were 15,078 views in 2017 (a 49% increase from 2016) with the post A Framework for Measuring Women’s Empowerment at Multiple Levels viewed more than 2,000 times.


For plant and animal (livestock and fish) breeders to meet users’ needs, they need to understand the priorities that women and men assign to genetically determined traits – such as taste, color, size and shape. The CGIAR Gender and Breeding Initiative, led by RTB/CIP, brings together plant and animal breeders and social scientists to develop a strategy for gender-responsive breeding with supporting methods, tools, and practices.
What is particularly promising about this initiative is its systematic approach to involving breeders and meeting their detailed technical needs. This includes developing gender-responsive varietal product profiles and compiling information on differences between women and men’s trait preferences.


The Evaluation of Gender in CGIAR was completed in 2017, and covered two dimensions; Gender in CGIAR Research, and Gender in the Workplace. The main finding was that CGIAR has made significant progress towards gender equity since 2010. Key institutions have been strengthened, and gender mainstreaming has been incorporated across all research programs. In the workplace, the Evaluation found increased representation of women across all Centers and at all levels of the System, and Centers have developed policies that foster gender equity.

However, there is still much to do. The evaluation recommended that CGIAR develop a clearer overall vision and action plan for gender equity. For Gender in Research, the quality and expertise were found to be variable, and the evaluation recommended stronger systems for monitoring and evaluation of outputs and outcomes and support to gender capacity and expertise. Regarding Gender in the Workplace, the evaluation found that while moderate progress in representation of women has been made since 2008, women remain under-represented in professional, scientific, and leadership roles. It concluded that priority should be given to increasing the representation of women in groups that have the strongest bearing on the delivery of the overall mission, which will require target-setting and proactive recruiting.

The CGIAR System Management Board welcomed the evaluation and fully accepted nearly all its recommendations. It agreed to prioritize supporting collaborative linkages between gender in research communities and integration of gender into results reporting.

Individual CGIAR Research Programs also reported many activities related to gender integration. Here is a selection:

Tools, frameworks, and methods for gender analysis

The development and validation of methods and tools for looking systematically at gender issues is a critical step for gender analysis to extend beyond use by a few knowledgeable individuals to full integration into research and development programs.

  • An IFPRI discussion paperii makes a simple but potentially useful distinction between reach (women are involved in a project, but don’t necessarily benefit), benefit (women benefit in practical ways related to their current gender role1), and empowerment as objectives of agricultural development projects. This new framework has been introduced across CGIAR, and externally. (Reported by A4NH)
  • A project-level Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index or pro-WEAI, is being developed. (Reported by A4NH) A Women’s Empowerment in Livestock Indexiii was also trialed and will be further piloted. (Reported by LIVESTOCK)
  • The Gender in Irrigation Learning and Improvement Tooliv was released in 2017 after being tested in Malawi and Uzbekistan. (Reported by WLE)
  • A framework on intrahousehold dynamics and the use of irrigation equipment was developed from analysisv in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Tanzania. (Reported by WLE)
  • Gender-sensitive protocols for farmers’ participatory evaluations were developed to measure end user and consumer preferences of biofortified cassava and gendered preferences of varieties for yam processing. (Reported by RTB)
  • CIFOR, Bioversity International, and World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) developed a frameworkvi that helps ensure that women and men at all levels have equal voice and influence in designing Forest Landscape Restoration initiatives, increasing the likelihood of substantive equality in outcomes. (Reported by FTA)
  • CCAFS worked with the International Fund for Agricultural Development and CARE to develop an IFAD ‘How To Do Note’ on design of gender transformative smallholder agriculture adaptation programsvii, as well as a CCAFS ‘Info Note’.viii (Reported by CCAFS)
  • A new monitoring system to assess the gender dimensions of Climate Smart Agriculture options is being piloted in Climate Smart Villages and includes household and community level analysis, while a Gender Equity Index for Climate Smart Agriculture was piloted in India. (Reported by CCAFS)
  • In the FISH CRP, a new Gender Research Strategy launched in 2017, together with ‘internal gender analysis methods consolidation’, has created the foundation for the development of gender integration guidelines. (Reported by FISH)

Major reviews with important gender aspects in 2017 included:

  • An edited volume, Earthscan Reader on Gender and Forests,ix brings together classical theories, analyses, methodologies, and case studies focused on gender in forests. (Reported by FTA)
  • A global review on gender in aquaculture value chainsx and in-depth qualitative case studies in Bangladesh and Indonesia. (Reported by FISH)
  • A reviewxi of the literature on women’s land rights and poverty reduction. (Reported by PIM)
  • A review of RTB researchxii published between 2013 and 2016 to draw lessons learned and identify gaps in mainstreaming gender crop and seed system interventions. (Reported by RTB)
  • A studyxiii of the governance of the informal food sector in Africa, a sector in which many women are active, argues for new approaches to regulation and service. (Reported by PIM)
  • A synthesis of gender-equitable pathways to achieving sustainable agricultural intensification. (Reported by WLE)

Training: A number of CRPs reported substantial training of staff and partners, for example on gender in agricultural research, gender in breeding and gender in livestock.


CGIAR contributions to national and international gender-related policy and programming in 2017:

  • New tools and training materials were developed for the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI). The index has been integrated into the set of indicators used by the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme, bringing to about 50 the number of countries using the index to develop data on changes in empowerment over time and the factors that affect it. (Reported by PIM)
  • In 2017 IFPRI’s ASTI launched a portal on women in agricultural science in Africa. (Reported by PIM)
  • 2017 also saw engagement of the LIVESTOCK gender team in the development of national Livestock Master Plans in Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Tanzania, which had previously been ‘gender blind’; new versions will guide investment towards women in the livestock sector. (Reported by LIVESTOCK)
  • CIFOR researchers drew from FTA’s research to offer recommendationsxiv to the Board of the Green Climate Fund for updating their Gender Policy and Action Plan. (Reported by FTA)
Youth and other aspects of equity

A special section on Youth and other aspects of equity: “Leaving No-One Behind” has been included in the 2017 Performance Report.


1 An example of meeting practical needs would be the 2017 finding that improved wheat varieties in Afghanistan have eased women’s work of cleaning wheat seed by providing more uniform, better quality seed free of bunt, a seed-borne disease. (Reported by WHEAT)


i This replaced the CGIAR Gender Network that was coordinated by the CGIAR System Management Office until December 2016.
ii N. Johnson et al., “How Do Agricultural Development Projects Aim to Empower Women?: Insights from an Analysis of Project Strategies,” IFPRI Discussion Paper (Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), 2017),
iii A. Galiè et al., “The Women’s Empowerment in Livestock Index,” Social Indicators Research, May 31, 2018,
iv N. Lefore, E. Weight, and N. Mukhamedova, Improving Gender Equity in Irrigation: Application of a Tool to Promote Learning and Performance in Malawi and Uzbekistan, WLE Research for Development (R4D) Learning Series 6 (Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Water Management Institute (IWMI). CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE), 2017),
v S. Theis et al., “What Happens after Technology Adoption? Gendered Aspects of Small-Scale Irrigation Technologies in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Tanzania,” IFPRI Discussion Paper (Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), 2017),
vi B. Sijapati Basnett et al., “Gender Matters in Forest Landscape Restoration,” Brief (CIFOR; CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA); CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM), 2017).
viiV. Sriram, “How to Do Note: Design of Gender Transformative Smallholder Agriculture Adaptation Programmes” (International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), accessed September 9, 2018,
viii V. Sriram, “Achieving Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Smallholder Adaptation: Lessons from IFAD’s Adaptation in Smallholder Agriculture Programme,” CCAFS Info Note (Wageningen, the Netherlands: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), March 8, 2018),
ix C. J. P. Colfer et al., The Earthscan Reader on Gender and Forests (Abingdon, Oxon (UK): Routledge, 2017),
x F. Kruijssen, C.L. McDougall, and I. J.M. van Asseldonk, “Gender and Aquaculture Value Chains: A Review of Key Issues and Implications for Research,” Aquaculture 493 (August 1, 2018): 328–37,
xi R. Meinzen-Dick et al., “Women’s Land Rights as a Pathway to Poverty Reduction: A Framework and Review of Available Evidence,” IFPRI Discussion Paper (Washington, D.C.: IFPRI, 2017),
xii N. Mudege and S. Torres, “Gender Mainstreaming in Root Tuber and Banana Crops Seed Systems Interventions: Identification of Lessons Learnt and Gaps.,” Working Paper (Lima, Peru: CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB), November 2017),
xiii D. Resnick, “Chapter 6: Governance: Informal Food Markets in Africa’s Cities,” in 2017 Global Food Policy Report (Washington, D.C.: IFPRI, 2017), 50–57,
xiv M. Ihalainen et al., “What Should Be Included in the Green Climate Fund’s New Gender Policy and Action Plan?: Lessons from CIFOR’s Research and Analyses,” CIFOR Infobrief (Bogor, Indonesia: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), 2017),

Photo by S. Mann/ILRI.