Some of the participants at the network’s annual meeting.

The “so what” question: Integrating and communicating gender research

Some of the participants at the network’s annual meeting.

Some of the participants at the network’s annual meeting.

The CGIAR Gender and Agriculture Research Network held its annual meeting at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) headquarters in Cali, Colombia earlier this month. The meeting was attended by gender specialists and coordinators from across the spectrum. All the sessions were interactive and participatory.  Gender Research Coordinators gave flash talks of 5 minutes. An interesting series of talks were on how gender research is being used to influence the way CGIAR Research Programs conduct research to be gender responsive.

The Gender Network will cease to be after 31 December 2016.  It will take on a new form from January 2017 as a CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research coordinated and hosted by the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions and Markets led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). The platform will move forward in implementing focused gender research specifically on:

  • Gender, landscapes and rural transformation
  • Gender consequences of AR4D efforts
  • Gender, technologies and institutions
  • Joint ownership and decision making.

Discussions at the meeting centered on the new platform, its mode of working, the role of CRP Gender Research Coordinators, and how the activities initiated by the network would continue to be implemented by the platform, among other topics.

One of the agenda items that appealed to me was the discussion on collective learning to obtain impacts. Collecting sex disaggregated data and then analyzing it is fine research. The discussions were around what difference it makes if we integrate gender concerns into agricultural research programs and once we know the difference it makes, so what?  Which means that effective communication of insights and results to donors and other stakeholders is very important. Have the planned interventions addressed gender barriers to accommodate gender differences in improving technology uptake and thereby enhancing welfare outcomes?  Or have the interventions challenged existing gender norms and relations? And what do these insights mean for research?  What are the implications for policies, programs and institutions?

I believe it is imperative to think about what we report or communicate to our stakeholders and development practitioners.  The documentation should be credible and powerful as well so that it can bring about change such as gender equitable control over resources, knowledge and opportunities and ultimately lead to the empowerment of the poor and vulnerable.

This was an important takeaway from the meeting. It should also be for all those involved in agricultural research for development and impact.

About the author:

padmaja Dr R Padmaja, Senior Scientist – Gender Research Markets, Institutions, Nutrition & Diversity Innovation Systems for the Drylands Program,ICRISAT.

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