Posts Tagged ‘GENNOVATE’

Engagement with local gender norms key for equitable, sustainable agricultural development, say experts

Agricultural research for development must foster deep, structural and systemic change in gender-based power relations

Arminda Solís poses on her tractor in Comapala, Chiapas, Mexico. Photo: Peter Lowe/CGIAR MAIZE

A provocative new article in the journal Development In Practice uses evidence from the global comparative research initiative GENNOVATE to make a powerful call for changing the way development researchers work to reach greater gender equity in agricultural innovations.

GENNOVATE special issue draws on the voices of women and men in agriculture

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 the process.

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.

A maize farmer collects her harvest. Photo: P.Lowe/CIMMYT

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 management.

New GENNOVATE videos highlight changing gender norms in agriculture

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.

Learning from 8,000 people to integrate gender into agricultural research

Researcher Alejandro Ramirez records the life experience of a farmer in Chiapas, Mexico. Photo: Sam Storr/CIMMYT

Researcher Alejandro Ramirez records the life experience of a farmer in Chiapas, Mexico. Photo: Sam Storr/CIMMYT

With its twisted cables and flickering computer screens, the room commandeered by the GENNOVATE study team at the headquarters of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) near Mexico City looks more like a Silicon Valley hackathon than what most would understand as gender research. Yet up on the main screen, questions are being asked of around 8,000 participants as part of a global gender study.

It is often a mystery why a new agricultural technology or practice can be successful in one community yet fail to have the desired effect in another. Social expectations of how men and women should behave may affect their ability to adopt or benefit from such innovations.