The CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture: Leveraging New Tools for Gender Equality
Innovative tools for large-scale data collection and analytics known as Big Data are providing researchers with unprecedented opportunities to conduct studies and collect and analyze agricultural data. Big Data tools allow researchers to process larger datasets and collect data from new sources like cell phone usage and social media. CGIAR (formerly the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) has developed a new Platform for Big Data in Agriculture, which incorporates Big Data tools into the work of their 15 research centers and 12 research programs to produce actionable insights at a faster pace, a lower cost, and a larger scale. By leveraging the mobile phone revolution, satellite imaging, and meta-analysis of massive social, health, and economic datasets, the Platform can provide creative approaches to research on gender equality in agriculture.
Producing sex-disaggregated data remains a primary challenge for research on gender equality issues. Currently, many major data collection projects do not distinguish between male and female respondents, which would be an effective protocol to significantly increase insights on gender equality. For this reason, the CGIAR Big Data Platform is building a partnership with the CGIAR Gender Research Platform to ensure that gender is embedded into the Big Data collection methods and that the results of these Big Data projects are useful to gender researchers.