Four tools ILRI is using to help livestock systems transform to greater gender equality

By Zoë Campbell

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘I Am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights’. For those of us at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) who think about gender throughout the year, this is a time to reflect on our work and share what we are doing to move towards gender equality in livestock systems.

First, what do we mean by gender equality? A research partner in West Africa recently told me, ‘If you want women to be exactly like men, that is just not going to happen here.’

‘Gender equality’ is a state that allows men and women equal enjoyment of human rights, socially valued goods, opportunities and resources. It doesn’t mean men and women will have the same dreams, preferences and social roles, but rather that both men and women will have the ability to make their own life choices and achieve life outcomes of similar value.

As a gender researcher, gender equality is a goal, but on a day-to-day basis, I think more about ‘gender equity’. Gender equity is the process of being fair to women and men. Many people have suffered due to their gender, age, socioeconomic status or ethnicity. To compensate for such historical and social disadvantages, it may be fair to distribute resources unevenly. Fair and equal are not always the same. If gender equality is the goal, gender equity is the path to leveling the playing field. . . .