Instilling gender-sensitization in agricultural research

In the real world, how can we aim for gender equity?

Women farmers are primary role players in Ethiopia's agriculture, accounting for up to 75 percent of labor on family farms in the country. But FAO studies show they typically produce up to 35 percent less than male farmers. The integration of gender in agricultural research from get-go is critical for equitable access to inputs and success on ground.

A workshop, held in Gondar, Ethiopia by the Gumara-Maksegnit Watershed Project, engaged a team of researchers on the importance of considering gender and imparted skills in designing and planning gender-sensitized research-for-development projects.

The workshop trained 58 researchers – a mix of biophysical and social scientists – through lively, all-hands discussions, involving scientists from Gondar Agricultural Research Center and the Amhara Regional Agricultural Research Institute (ARARI), along with representatives from local administration, the Bureau of Agriculture, International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and World Vision.

A main focus was highlighting the need to conduct field work in gender sensitive ways, which was brought out in a creative activity. The workshop used three groups of farmers segregated by gender: an all male group, all female group, and a mixed group with male and female farmers. Each group discussed the greatest obstacles to improving their livelihoods. Diverse discussions took place in each group, which provided a tangible example of how the men and women identify different priorities related to their land, families, and environment when separated by gender. The activity provided a new handle for researchers on gender in farming and inspired them to rethink their approach to research planning.

Gender initiatives continue to be an important part of this project as it enters its second phase, implementing a range of integrated activities geared to reduce poverty through sustainable management of natural resources and increased agricultural productivity. The workshop, held 24-26 March, 2014, was facilitated by ICARDA with support from the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) and ARARI, and sponsorship from the WLE Gender Fund.

Check out photos from the event:
(Credit: WLE Program,

Read more:
Gender Mainstreaming in Agricultural Research:

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