The gender team at CIAT seeks to close gaps between men and women in agriculture by addressing this issue in Center projects and by conducting strategic research aimed at explaining gender differences.
“We want to reduce gender inequalities; increasing women’s control of resources, their participation in decision-making, and so that they can choose how to allocate their labor.”Jennifer Twyman
Team members in action
Consisting currently of three researchers based at Center headquarters, the team expects this number to grow by 2017, with additional staff in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
The team helps ensure that the CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) in which CIAT participates have an active strategy for addressing gender issues adequately in their work.
Jennifer Twyman, with a PhD in agricultural economics, provides leadership in the gender work of the CRP Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) as well as for projects with CGIAR´s HarvestPlus initiative and CIAT´s Rice Program. She explains that key challenges for CCAFS are to explain how men and women are affected by climate change; what options and strategies they need for adapting to its impacts, based on their differing capacities; how gender gaps affect decisions about agriculture; and what decision makers in Latin America can do to support the integration of gender concerns into policies for addressing climate change in agriculture.
Tatiana Gumucio, who has a PhD in anthropology, leads gender research in the CRP Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), with a focus on livelihoods, landscapes, and governance. This program carries out projects aimed at developing tools to promote gender-inclusive business models, achieve sustainable development of forests, and generate gender-sensitive recommendations for the formulation of NAMAs (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions), among other tasks.
“A central challenge for CIAT´s gender team is to devise strategies for strengthening women´s role in agriculture. One example is the work we´re doing with the Center´s Linking Farmers to Markets theme to incorporate gender approaches into its LINK methodology, which is used to build inclusive commercial relationships between rural producers and modern markets.”
María Alejandra García, who has a Master´s degree in sociology and works with the CRP on Rice (known as GRiSP, or Global Rice Science Partnership), says she is carrying out research in collaboration with CIAT´s impact evaluation team to determine whether gender plays a decisive role in the adoption of modern rice varieties. Conducted with Ecuador´s National Institute for Research on Agriculture and Livestock (INIAP, its acronym in Spanish), this study has as one of its key objectives to identify differences between the roles that men and women play in rice production.
“One example from this collaborative effort has to do with the visibility of women´s contribution to rice production in Latin America. While historically men have been seen as bearing primary responsibility for this crop, we have evidence now that women play a greater role in production than was previously thought.”María Alejandra García
Alliances with partners
To carry out this kind of research at CIAT requires the formation of coalitions of organizations that have the technology and resources needed to address each theme. Among the Center’s allies are Colombia´s National Rice Growers Federation (FEDEARROZ) and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The Center also has projects with member organizations of the Latin American Fund for Irrigated Rice (FLAR). In addition, the team is forging new arrangements with other partners interested in gender issues, while also strengthening its ongoing collaboration with organizations that include the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) in Costa Rica, University of Florida in the USA, and Eco hábitats in Colombia´s southwestern Cauca Department.
Channels of communication
To exchange information on topics of shared interest, the team meets once a month and periodically organizes workshops open to anyone interested in gender issues. It also facilities a gender community of practice for sharing information online. Through its contacts with the University of Florida, the team opens up possibilities for information exchange with master´s students contributing to Center projects. At the same time, the team is starting to engage with the University of Valle (in Cali, Colombia) to involve professors and students in developing strategies for gender research in agriculture. The gender team will strive to make its work more visible within CIAT and CGIAR generally, with the aim of strengthening its participation in different research areas.