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Gender in MAIZE


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This poster was presented by Lone Badstue (MAIZE / WHEAT / CIMMYT) for the pre-Annual Scientific Conference meeting organized for the CGIAR research program gender research coordinators on 4 December.
The annual scientific conference of the CGIAR collaborative platform for gender research took place on 5-6 December 2017 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where the Platform is hosted (by KIT Royal Tropical Institute).

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Gender in MAIZE

  1. 1. Led by CIMMYT with main partner IITA Introduction Farming takes place in the midst of complex social relationships, at household level, group and community level, market system level and the wider society (Figure 1). Gender is a key structuring element in this context, often intersecting with other social identities such as age, caste and ethnicity, and enabling or constraining opportunities and outcomes differently, for different social groups. Power relations at each of these levels affect the extent to which women, and men, can access, use and benefit from innovations in agriculture. MAIZE recognizes that in order to design and undertake agricultural R4D that is both technically and socially robust, it is necessary to understand and take into account how agri-food systems operate across different social enabling environments. MAIZE Phase II aims to consolidate the systematic application of quantitative and qualitative gender and social research methods in the context of maize agri-food system (AFS) research. Priority areas for gender research under Phase II include: (i) technology development, including on trait preferences, e.g., related to labor- or input-saving, risk reduction, and nutrition and processing qualities; and (ii) technology diffusion and adoption, including access to information, bargaining and decision-making capacity, favorable and inclusive enabling environments, and value chains. The integration of gender in MAIZE is conceived as a process of continual improvement, in which research design and practice, and research management frameworks and procedures are designed to complement and reinforce each other. The MAIZE Gender Strategy follows a two-pronged approach: (1) integrative gender research using gender analysis as part of other technical research, e.g., socioeconomic research, maize improvement or crop management; and (2) strategic gender research to further expand the knowledge base concerning gender specifically in relation to maize- based AFS and livelihoods. Both of these avenues contribute to inform and deepen the relevance of other MAIZE research themes, as well as overall CRP priority setting and targeting, in order to enhance the impact of maize agri-food systems R4D. Figure 1: Gender amidst complex social relationships. Flagship gender objectives Selected research questions FP1: Enhancing MAIZE’s R4D strategy for impact To strengthen the evidence base on gender in maize-based systems and livelihoods; and ensure that foresight and targeting, adoption and impact studies, as well as maize-related value chain development interventions, are informed by a gender and social inclusion perspective. • How do gender relations and access to resources influence adoption of new maize technologies by women and men of different age groups? And how does the introduction of new technologies influence gender relations? • What is the capacity for gender-responsive technology generation and dissemination of R&D partners, including advisory services, input and service providers, and seed enterprises? • What are the gendered impacts of maize R4D, who benefits, and how? FP2: Novel diversity and tools for increasing genetic gain To ensure that perspectives of male and female end users are taken into account in up-stream targeting and decision making. • How can downstream gender research and analysis of the technology development-deployment continuum guide upstream targeting and decision making? • How can we ensure that efforts to increase genetic gain benefit both men and women maize farmers and consumers in particular contexts? FP3: Stress tolerant and nutritious maize To document and understand gender-differentiated preferences for specific traits in maize germplasm, and the factors that influence them, as well as the implications hereof in relation to priority setting and targeting of maize breeding strategies. • What are the needs, preferences and constraints of men and women maize farmers with regards to maize varietal traits? Are these similar or different for men and women farmers? To what extent are these considered in maize variety development? • What shapes men and women farmers’ ability to access, use and benefit from improved maize varieties? • How do small- and medium-size seed companies and agro-dealers address gender as a customer attribute? What constraints are faced by agro-dealers and by women farmers? FP4: Sustainable intensification of maize-based agri-food systems for improved smallholder livelihoods To ensure that sustainable intensification of maize-based systems and livelihoods take gender and social disparities into account and deliver positive benefits to both men and women of different social groups. • What are the factors underlying the differences in male and female maize farmers’ technology adoption and productivity? And how can this information be used to design gender-positive interventions? • What types of institutional arrangements and business models can enhance the ability of poor women farmers, youth and marginalized groups to access and benefit from more efficient and labor-saving technologies? • How do social and gender norms constrain/enhance individuals’ ability to engage in agricultural innovation processes? And what are effective measures to address barriers to social inclusion in technology development and dissemination? Key gender concepts The concepts underlying WHEAT’s gender agenda include: • Gender equality entails the concept that all human beings are free to develop their personal abilities and make choices without the limitations set by stereotypes, rigid gender roles or prejudices. Gender equality means that the different behaviors, aspirations and the needs of women and men are considered, valued and favored equally. It does not mean that women and men have to become the same, but that their rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female. • Empowerment implies people – both women and men – taking control over their lives by setting their own agendas, gaining skills (or having their own skills and knowledge recognized), increasing their self-confidence, solving problems and developing self-reliance. It is both a process and an outcome. • Agency refers to the capacity to make strategic life decisions and act upon them. • Gender-transformative approaches actively strive to examine, question and change rigid gender norms and the imbalance of power as a means of achieving development goals as well as meeting gender equity objectives. • Gender-responsive (or -aware) approaches are designed to meet both women’s and men’s needs. The MAIZE gender strategy impact logic Contribution towards a CGIAR-wide gender research framework Thematic: gender and social dimensions of innovation processes in maize-based AFS, with particular emphasis on sustainable intensification, maize improvement and seed sector development; strong focus on institutions as barriers to/enablers of gender equality Approach: continual improvement, mixed methods, collaboration, dialogue Process: building evidence and capacity for improved outcomes and impact NGOs, research institutes, donors, govt. Market system Group & community Adopting household Adopting woman or man Gender Equality and Social Inclusion in MAIZE Sustainable intensification frameworks with social equity and gender analysis integrated Research Outputs Research Outcomes Impact Framework for gender- responsive maize seed sector development Tools and approaches for gender-responsive value- chain development Gender-sensitive guidelines re: variety and other technology promotion; and farmer decision support information Innovative, gender- responsive crop and farm management practices Trait pipelines for R4D addressing characteristics of special importance to women Sex-disaggregated data sets re: farmer preferences, technology adoption, crop management, etc. Gender-differentiated maize trait preferences documented and informing MAIZE breeding strategies Sensitization of NARS and local seed enterprises re: gender in varietal development and promotion Peer-reviewed articles, policy briefs and tools for gender-responsive maize R4D MAIZE research priority setting and targeting informed by gender research and analysis Increase yields and reduced vulnerability of female and male maize farmers through increased gender equality and adoption of appropriate, high quality maize seed and improved management practices, developed with special consideration of their needs and preferences Increased gender responsiveness of maize R&D partners reflected in gender- responsive business models and practices; and inclusive maize-related value chains and institutional arrangements that increase gender and social equity in the distribution of benefits from sustainable intensification and increased market integration Improved livelihoods of smallholder families due to improved equality of opportunity and outcomes between women and men maize farmers