Incorporating Gender in our Work


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Although most scientists acknowledge that including concrete considerations of gender in their research is important, particularly in terms of outcomes and outputs, it doesn’t always come easily. CIFOR scientist Carol Colfer gave this introductory presentation about gender on 9 March 2012 to help CRP6 Component 2 researchers discuss gender work already underway and to share ideas, hopes, and fears about implementing gender research. The presentation was part of the recent Component 2 planning meeting in Rome.

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Incorporating Gender in our Work

  1. 1. Carol J. Pierce ColferCIFOR/Cornell(+ E. Mwangi, D. Catacutan, R. Jalonen)
  2. 2.  Developing a congenial atmosphere Gender in communities Gender in research teams
  3. 3.  Links with radical feminists (some seen to ‘hate men’) Buildup of defensiveness (due to longstanding discrimination) Shortage of women in some relevant fields (due to traditional gender stereotyping) Global value systems that prioritise men’s work
  4. 4.  Acknowledge importance of both women and men in accomplishing Component 2 goals Seek and use variety of gender expertise (local, Consultative Group or CG, partners) Keep longer term goals in mind when confronted with antagonism, defensiveness, etc. – be patient, polite, persistent
  5. 5.  Form/use effective interdisciplinary teams to address gender issues (various levels) Start with good cooperation/communication among ourselves Monitor results, learn and adapt, as needed (build on what works) Address gender issues at multiple scales
  6. 6. Gender needs to be incorporated into, or complement, our other researchNOT replace existing methods and approaches
  7. 7.  Assess who does what, who knows about what, who has power over what/whom Develop research strategies that address topics of local interest to both genders Form voluntary community groups to examine and address these research topics Facilitate a cyclical process — goal setting, analysis, planning, implementation, monitoring, re-evaluation
  8. 8.  Develop research frameworks that compare location-specific findings across regions Expand assessments beyond the economic (e.g. governance, equity, voice, subsistence benefits/impacts) across sites Test hypotheses about women, men, forests and trees in long-term sites (Sentinel sites?) – both involvement and impact
  9. 9.  Women may have less time, more domestic responsibilities – requiring care in scheduling Women (and some men) may not know national language – requiring use of local language or translation
  10. 10.  ; Many women (and some men) may be illiterate – requiring creative use of graphics Many women (and some men) may be unused to interacting with strangers – requiring time to accustom them (and their family) to your presence ; Husbands may disapprove – requiring negotiation
  11. 11.  Non-timber forest products Health-related concerns Food and nutrition Agriculture/agro- forestry/swiddens Marketing of ‘women’s products’
  12. 12. ? Assumption: ‘Men are no problem’ but…perhaps only true for elites… Soldiers, HIV/AIDS victims, domestic abusers…??? [Surely more positive characteristics than that!] Children (sons)?
  13. 13.  Female research team members tend to have better access to women’s views/lives Male research team members tend to have better access to men (though female outsiders are sometimes seen locally as ‘male’) Social scientists are trained to study people’s perspectives/lives – many have gender expertise
  14. 14.  May require qualitative and descriptive approaches [invisible] – lower prestige in CG May require location-specific research – lower prestige in CG May work best with lon May work best with long term participatory approaches – [historically] unpopular in CG
  15. 15.  Maintains ability to be ‘grounded’ Provides opportunities to test technologies, tools, approaches of use to both sexes Benefits a broader population base, mobilising under-recognized human resources
  16. 16.  In-depth nature of research can help shed light on dynamics/interactions not easily revealed via broad surveys Can be a good basis for generating hypotheses May improve quantification of qualitative results – leading to better impact assessment
  17. 17.  How are you imagining incorporating gender concerns into your work? What are your hopes, fears, worries about it? What sorts of roadblocks/opportunities do you anticipate? What kinds of solutions have worked in the past, or do you envision working in upcoming research?