NPS from New Delhi: Integration of Gender and Intersectionality in Colombian Agricultural Policies
CGIAR Initiative on National Policies and Strategies
During the international conference “From Research to Impact: Towards Just and Resilient Agri-Food Systems,” held in New Delhi from October 9 to 12, 2023, Fanny Howland, a researcher from the Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT within the framework of the initiative on National Policies and Strategies (NPS), had the opportunity to share the progress of her team´s study on Gender and Intersectionality Inclusion in Colombian policies related to climate change, land, and food. This event provided a platform to reflect and exchange ideas with research leaders worldwide on how have evolved agri-food systems toward equity and resilience, particularly regarding gender inclusion.
The study underscores the importance of integrating a gender perspective into agricultural, climate, and food policies, emphasizing the equitable consideration of roles, preferences, and challenges faced by both sexes. For this, it is necessary contextualize political developments and positioning of gender equality, which leads to the identification of a disparity in the representation of social and gender dimensions in these policies. Despite the Beijing Platform for Action (1995) advocating for global gender inclusion in public policies, gender inequalities are often not systematically addressed in the policy cycle, as noted by Acosta et al. (2019, 2020).
The presentation in New Delhi aligned with the CGIAR NPS Initiative, primarily aiming to develop stronger strategies and policies related to food, land, and water. Fanny Howland’s presentation of the study focused on understanding the integration and translation of Gender and Intersectionality (G&I) in Colombian national policies. A summary of the study and its conclusions will be presented below. However, to comprehend the dynamics of gender inclusion and intersectionality in Colombian policies, it’s crucial to recall two contextual elements:
- The Colombian government signed Peace Agreements with the FARC in 2016, with a key point being the Integral Rural Reform incorporating environmental, food, land, and gender considerations.
- The election, for the first time in history, of a left-leaning government projecting its vision through the National Development Plan (PND).
In this context, the research focuses on analyzing a total of 15 policies, including four documents related to Land, four linked to Climate Change, four centered on Food, two focused on Gender policies, and the National Development Plan. The results reveal significant contrasts among these documents.
Broadly, it was evident that the National Development Plan (PND), crafted by Colombia’s first left-leaning government, and the Comprehensive Climate Change Plan (PIGCC) for the agricultural sector, developed by the FAO, are the most inclusive and progressive documents regarding G&I.
The PND is unique in incorporating terms such as “intersectionality,” “feminism,” or “LGBTIQ+,” recognizing “peasants” (campesinos) as subjects of rights. Both documents mention structural gender challenges, such as land access or the undervaluation of care economics1. In both cases, women are presented as agents of change.
The study results also highlight that themes of armed conflict and peacebuilding are embedded in most policies (problem formulation, objectives, solution formulation), especially in land policies, climate change policies, and the PND. On the other hand, policies with a technical approach such as the National Productive Development Policy, the Payment for Environmental Services policy, and the National Climate Change Policy, are blind to the gender approach2.
The study also identified policies with a stereotyped gender vision3. In these cases, women are only seen as victims or a vulnerable group, or for their reproductive role (in food security and nutrition policy). In other cases, women are portrayed as a homogeneous group, like “rural women” (gender policies), obscuring existing diversity. Often, the man’s situation continues to be the reference against which the woman’s situation is compared.
In the conclusions and future steps presented in this research, recent progress in G&I integration into Colombian policies is revealed, highlighting key documents such as the PND and PIGCC. These documents acknowledge the importance of intersectionality, feminism, and diversity, symbolizing a paradigm shift. However, the persistence of policies lacking a gender focus is noted.
Future initiatives will include an analysis of national-level actor discourses and a local study to understand the direct beneficiaries’ perceptions of gender gaps and the response of government programs. These additional efforts aim to provide a more comprehensive and participatory view, guiding more inclusive and equitable policy strategies.
In the info note titled “Gender and Intersectionality Inclusion in Climate Change, Land, and Food Policies: The Case of Colombia,” set to be released in January 2024, a more detailed exploration of the findings will be provided, contextualizing G&I integration within a broader development framework. This study allows for a more complete understanding and facilitates a more effective implementation of inclusive and equitable policies.
This study was conducted with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
1Care Economy: Defined in Article 2 of Law 1413 of 2010 as unpaid work performed at home related to maintaining the household, caring for other household or community members, and maintaining the remunerated workforce. (Ministry of Health and Social Protection)
Source: Critical Dictionary of Social Sciences
2Gender-Blind Policies: Policies that, although seemingly neutral, are implicitly biased towards masculinity, reproducing existing gender relations, and tending to exclude women from development resources and benefits.
Source: HEGOA Dictionary
3Stereotyped Gender Vision: A generalized or preconceived idea about the attributes, characteristics, or roles that women and men should or do play. A gender stereotype is harmful when it limits the ability of women and men to develop their personal capacities, pursue their professional careers, and/or make decisions about their lives.
Source: OHCHR – Gender Stereotyping
Daniela Salas Betancourt, Communications, NPS Initiative Colombia, Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT.
Fanny Cecile Howland, Research Specialist, Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT.
This work is part of the CGIAR Research Initiative on National Policies and Strategies (NPS). CGIAR launched NPS with national and international partners to build policy coherence, respond to policy demands and crises, and integrate policy tools at national and subnational levels in countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. CGIAR centers participating in NPS are The Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (Alliance Bioversity-CIAT), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), International Water Management Institute (IWMI), International Potato Center (CIP), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and WorldFish. We would like to thank all funders who supported this research through their contributions to the CGIAR Trust Fund and the CGIAR Gender Impact Platform.
Photo credit: Alianza de Bioversity y el CIAT