Can I speak to the manager? The gender dynamics of decision-making in Kenyan maize plots
Gender and social inclusion efforts in agricultural development are focused on making uptake of agricultural technologies more equitable. Yet research looking at how gender relations influence technology uptake often assumes that men and women within a household make farm management decisions as individuals. Relatively little is understood about the dynamics of agricultural decision-making within dual-adult households where individuals’ management choices are likely influenced by others in the household. This study used vignettes to examine decision-making related to maize plot management in 698 dual-adult households in rural Kenya. The results indicated a high degree of joint management of maize plots (55%), although some management decisions—notably those related to purchased inputs—were slightly more likely to be controlled by men, while other decisions—including those related to hiring of labor and maize end uses—were more likely to be made by women. The prevalence of joint decision-making underscores the importance of ensuring that both men’s and women’s priorities and needs are reflected in design and marketing of interventions to support maize production, including those related to seed systems, farmer capacity building, and input delivery.