Agriculture is under-performing because of women’s unequal access to land, fertilizer, technology, extension and credit. These unequal relations often make women and marginalized groups more vulnerable to the effects of poverty, land degradation, and climate change.
At the same time, agriculture also faces formidable challenges; from increased food demand to climate change impacts. Understanding unequal social relations, particularly gender relations, is vital for achieving global objectives in agricultural research for development.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that if women had access to the same productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20-30%. This could in turn reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12-17%. Closing gender gaps, therefore, would be good for both women and for agriculture.
What we do: Closing the gender gap in agriculture
CIAT is committed to reducing gender inequalities, especially in terms of access to resources and information, with the aim of empowering poor men and women. Through strategic gender research, Center scientists are contributing to Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
How we do it: Empowering men and women farmers
CIAT’s gender strategy involves two approaches: (1) conducting strategic gender research to explain how gender disparities or gender relations affect agricultural innovation, productivity, and sustainability, and (2) integrating gender analysis into research on topics such as plant breeding, climate change adaptation, and integrated pest management.
CIAT joins forces with CGIAR Research Programs and many partners and donors around the world to address gender issues for the benefit of both men and women.
After it was found that plants that helped poor women survive were the same species that agronomists and rural extensionists
were eliminating with pesticides in Lao PDR, CIAT and the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI), through the Participatory Social Return on Investment (PSROI) Project, worked together to change traditional thinking on community planning and farming for rural families.
CIAT, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), and partners have trained
women to become excellent beekeepers and also to process and market honey and engage in other activities, such as basket weaving. The result is more diverse livelihoods, higher incomes, and greater resilience against climate change.
Strengthened the capacity of CGIAR researchers, postdoctoral fellows, and partners to conduct gender research, and increased knowledge sharing among gender researchers.
CIAT and partners have developed and disseminated faster-cooking beans (as well as precooked bean snacks) to reduce the amount of time and energy households, typically women, spend preparing nutritious meals.
In 2011, CGIAR adopted a system-wide Gender Strategy. This Strategy identified mainstreaming gender analysis and research within each CGIAR Research Program as the best mechanism for all the programs to generate gender-related outputs and outcomes. Toward this end, the Strategy also required each program to develop and implement its own Gender Strategy.
In late 2014, CIAT took on the role of providing Communications, Knowledge Sharing and Data Management support for the CGIAR Gender and Agriculture Research Network. Comprised of experts from across the various CGIAR Research Programs, the main goal of this collaborative effort is to increase the visibility of gender research and foster interactive knowledge sharing among gender researchers.
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