by Carolyn Cowan
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
By Anya Umantseva and Alejandro Ramirez, CIMMYT
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.”
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.
CIMMYT maize breeder, Thokozile Ndhlela (left), inspects a maize trial field with smallholder farmer, Otilia Chirova, in Mashonaland East, Zimbabwe. Photo: Johnson Siamachira/CIMMYT.
Little did 47-year-old Thokozile Ndhlela know that growing up in a rural area in Zimbabwe would inspire her to become a well-respected agricultural scientist, helping to transform agriculture by developing science-based solutions to some of the complex issues facing African farmers.
Currently a postdoctoral staff member with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare, Ndhlela encourages girls to choose options that lead to careers in agriculture. Most farmers worldwide average an age of over 60, so Ndhlela’s work is also helping to encourage young people to get involved in agriculture.