the potential to be drivers of agricultural transformation in Africa, holding
the key to improving their families’ livelihoods and food security. However, such constraints as lack of access to initial
capital, machinery, reliable markets, and knowledge and training are difficult
to overcome, leading to restricted participation by women and young people in
agricultural systems in Africa.
A new video from the Sustainable Intensification of Maize-Legume Systems for Food Security in Eastern and Southern Africa (SIMLESA) project highlights the importance of gender equity and social inclusion to achieving project impacts and outcomes, helping to drive transformative change towards securing a food secure future for Africa. Case studies and interviews with women and men farmers – including young people – detail how SIMLESA’s approach has re-shaped their maize-based farming lives.
A diverse and inclusive agricultural framework can
be fostered by involving both women and men from different socioeconomic
backgrounds and age groups in agricultural innovation interventions. Such an
approach can ensure equitable access to resources while stimulating local
innovation and development outcomes. Achieving this aim is a complex task.
Gender-focused agricultural research for development can inform and streamline
A special issue of the Journal of Gender, Agriculture and Food Security comprises a set of six studies drawing on data collected for the GENNOVATE initiative – a CIMMYT-led, cross-CRP global comparative research initiative, part-funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE). The initiative gathered the perspectives and experiences of over 7000 women and men from diverse backgrounds and varied age groups in 137 rural communities across 26 countries during individual interviews, focus groups and community discussions. The special issue reveals a lot about what influences women’s and men’s agency and empowerment to utilize agricultural innovations to improve their livelihoods.
Central to the studies is the concept of gender
‘norms’ which are social rules surrounding women’s and men’s expected roles and
behaviors. Such ‘norms’ can influence a person’s ability to access,
adopt, adapt and benefit from innovations in agricultural and natural resource
How do social norms around gender influence the work of
agricultural development professionals? A recent workshop held in Mexico for
agricultural extension professionals – comprising 20 women and 26 men – turned
the spotlight on the topic of “masculinities”, defined as “a set of
attributes, values, and behaviors that are characteristic of being a man in a
given society and time.”
The workshop was organized by CIMMYT’s Gender and Social Inclusion Unit and facilitated by GENDES, a Mexican NGO that specializes on working with men on topics of gender and masculinities. The event was funded by the Mexican Government as part of the MasAgro project.
The majority of extension agents in Mexico are men and socially
and culturally constructed norms of how men should act directly impact the
ability of women farmers to access and benefit from rural advisory services. The
idea of discussing norms around masculinities came from the extension agents
themselves. One of the objectives of this workshop was to reflect upon the
concept of “machismo” in Mexico, and how it influences the extension work of
Just in time for International Women’s Day, a series of videos have been published by the GENNOVATE initiative to raise awareness about and explore the interlinkages between gender norms, agency, and innovation in agriculture and natural resource management. The videos include stories of men and women from Mexico, Tanzania, and Nepal from the perspectives of local women and men themselves.