Addressing Gender Gaps and Exclusions in Research and Practice

Margaret Agesuba, Newcastle University, UK


Ranjitha Puskur, CGIAR GENDER Platform, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)

Ways forward for Gender in Agriculture research: Key takeaways from Evidence Gap Map
A growing interest in gender in agriculture and food systems has characterized research in the last decade. An evidence gap map (EGM) was developed to systematically collate available evidence on gender in agriculture and food systems. This map provides a framework for prioritizing research across 11 key themes that have evolved organically from CGIAR gender research over the years, to enable focused evidence synthesis and generation based on identified gaps. The EGM included studies that employed qualitative, quantitative and mixed method designs, acknowledging the inter-disciplinary and wide-ranging methodologies applicable to gender research in agriculture, a departure from other EGMs which only focus on quantitative studies. We provide a visual overview of studies spanning the themes and different outcomes. After screening 7259 studies across a range of academic databases, 752 studies were included in the map based on the inclusion criteria and quality check protocols. Findings indicate an overall predominance of qualitative research designs followed by quantitative and mixed method studies. The synthesis also suggests that studies that examined ‘social’ outcomes significantly outnumber those that captured ‘economic’ ‘environmental’ and ‘agricultural knowledge and behaviour outcomes’. In terms of regional distribution of evidence, Africa, followed by Asia were the dominant geographies, with fewer studies focusing on Latin America and the MENA region. This presentation will draw out the broader implications of the gaps identified for gender in agriculture research, and identify ways of prioritizing themes and outcomes for impactful multi-dimensional gender research in the context of agriculture and food systems in future.


Sarah Lawless, James Cook University/ WorldFish

Diluting gender equality: The case of small-scale fisheries
Global commitments to gender equality have surged, yet their translation and potential to influence regional and national food systems policy and practice is unclear. Subsequently, the propensity to advance gender equality through food systems is difficult to assess. We examined small-scale fisheries of the Pacific Islands, a largely community-based productive sector, to explore how gender equality was (1) represented, (2) prioritized and, (3) actioned in policy and practice to, (4) assess the potential (type and depth) of gender-based change. We conducted interviews with Pacific small-scale fisheries and/or gender experts (n=71), combined with a systematic analysis of influential policy instruments (n=76). We found that within fisheries policy and practice, the concept of gender equality was diluted to a narrow focus on women, overlooking men, gender norms and power relations. Rationales for pursuing gender equality were predominantly instrumental (i.e., to drive ecological outcomes) rather than intrinsic (i.e., as inherently valued for fairness). The gender strategies implemented by fisheries agencies mainly sought women’s inclusion (i.e., participation in fisheries projects, meetings and committees), consequently, changes were clustered around the individual (i.e., women’s improved productive capacities) rather than spanning household-to-societal levels. We highlight potential reasons for this dilution, including incoherence in values of gender equality within policies and among fisheries agencies. Critical shifts in dominant gender equality narratives, and an embrace of multi-level strategies, provide opportunities for fisheries, and other productive sectors, to rise to current best practice, and make meaningful (opposed to rhetorical) progress toward gender equality.


Cynthia McDougall, WorldFish

Conceptualizing and Assessing Inclusion and Exclusion in Community-based Natural Resource Management: A New Framework and Tool
Community-based management of natural resources (CBNRM) approaches have been critiqued for glossing over intra-community power differences along the lines of gender, wealth, caste, ethnicity or other dimensions of difference. This oversight – and associated assumptions that CBNRM are equitable by virtue of being participatory - can reproduce or even exacerbate existing inequalities. And yet, existing frameworks and methods for assessing CBNRM tend to focus on participation in broad brush terms and/or resort to ‘attendance’ as a proxy for inclusion. As such, conceptual and methodological innovation is needed to better shed light on who experiences ‘participatory exclusions’, and to what degree, is critically needed. This contribution will engage with this gap with the objectives of both generating greater shared understanding of the problem (why reducing participation to attendance is problematic) and of an innovative framework that unpacks 'inclusion' in a more granular way. In particular, the framework unpacks inclusion (in CBNRM governance) into five inter-related elements: (1) attendance to meetings, (2) having an understanding of local CBRM processes regulations, and access to that information (3) speaking during meetings, (4) feeling respect from other members of the community, and (5) the perception of inclusion during the meetings. The framework and the associated quantitative and qualitative tool we will share can be used to examine inclusion and exclusion through an intersectional gender lens, i.e., engaging with age, ethnicity or other. It will draw on the 2019 pilot, which took place in 14 communities in Solomon Islands.