Feminist Critiques of AgriR4Dev: Applications, insights and best practices

The objective of this session is to discuss the emergence of feminist critiques in agriculture for development (Agri4Dev) – what are they, how have they been applied/engaged with in projects and programming, and, crucially, what have been the outcomes/impacts of these critiques? Given the increasing focus on gender in the Agri4Dev agenda, this session examines what sort of agenda is being promoted and to what extent it reflects progress in feminist scholarship. The panel discussion will explore emergent feminist critiques* of common practices and assumptions in Agri4Dev which run the risk of reproducing, exacerbating, and/or creating new power inequalities.


Katie Tavenner, Independent scholar, and Stephanie Leder, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Seema Arora Jonsson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Kate Farhall and Lauren Rickards, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

The “Gender Agenda” in Agriculture for Development and Its (Lack of) Alignment with Feminist Scholarship


Katrina Kosec, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Bringing Power to the People or the Well-Connected? Evidence from Ethiopia on the Gendered Effects of Decentralizing Service Delivery
Decentralization, or devolution of authority to lower levels of government, is often motivated by its potential to make service delivery more responsive to citizens' preferences. However, women's ability to influence policy outcomes may vary across levels of government. This paper considers how decentralization affects both women's and men's access to government-provided services and their level of political engagement. We exploit the partial roll-out of decentralization in Ethiopia during 2000-01 and use a spatial regression discontinuity design to identify its impacts. Decentralization improves access to public services for both women and men, but the benefits for men are greater, widening the gender gap in access. We find no evidence that this is due to women's lower likelihood of participating in local elections; indeed, decentralization increases women's but not men's participation. However, decentralization disproportionately increases men's interactions with local government officials and influential civil society leaders--who wield more power under decentralization. The results are consistent with non-electoral channels of political influence at the local level, dominated by men, contributing to policy outcomes favoring men. They shed light on potential pitfalls of decentralized service delivery from a gender equality perspective, and provide policy recommendations for ensuring women's equitable access to services.


Ina Girard, International Potato Center (CIP)

Equitable and inclusive approaches to establishing a potato producers’ network in Georgia
Like many other countries in Central Asia and Caucasus, the agricultural sector in Georgia is dominated by men, from policy-makers to farmers’ cooperatives. New technologies, subsidies and policies are proposed and developed by men for male farmers. However, our gender diagnostic study has shown that women play significant roles in agriculture, spending as much time as men do in the field, while having an additional 5-8 hours of domestic work unlike the men, who do only 30 minutes on average. To address this issue, we designed the new approach in potato program to ensure that women farmers, including ethnic minorities, benefit from any interventions; to empower them through a newly established potato producers’ network; and to try to transform gender norms in some of the agricultural domains at the community level. However, challenging norms and changing organizational structures are not easy. In this presentation, we share our experience of engaging men and women with various activities, as well as tips for interactive gender training. We also introduce practical tools to identify gender norms and communicate effectively to donors our commitment to gender equity. We conclude by highlighting the importance of engaging men in transforming gender norms.


Fanny Howland, Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT

Barriers and solutions to Gender Integration in Agriculture, Climate Change, Food Security, and Nutrition Policies: Guatemalan and Honduran perspectives
Gender mainstreaming is seen, at international level, as critical to achieving national development goals and addressing key global challenges such as climate change and food and nutrition insecurity in the agriculture sector. Our study examined the barriers leading to poor gender mainstreaming and potential solutions in policies applying to gender, agriculture, climate change, food security and nutrition, in Guatemala and Honduras. We used a case study approach to analyze the barriers to gender integration in policies. Based on semi-structured interviews and policy document analysis, we conducted a methodology based on policy mix, policy integration and policy translation. Results show that, despite having made multiple international commitments on gender issues and having gender-labeled policy and governmental gender bodies, gender mainstreaming in the policy cycle is lagging. There are multiple barriers of a different nature and at different levels that explain the lack of gender integration in the policy, related and linked to: policy translation from the international level; structural policy barriers at national level; behaviors and corruption; and lack of knowledge and capacity. Solutions to address these barriers have been identified. Our results confirmed the literature findings and also introduce new elements such as the importance of considering the nature of the relationship between governments and international cooperation actors to evaluate gender integration in policy. We noted that no solutions were provided relating to structural racism and machismo, religious extremism, power groups, and censorship of civil society.


Charlotte Maybom, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Achieving gender equality through transnational interventions? The case of PRM in pastoral Kenya
This paper examines gender equality in policy and project design and discusses whether and how transnational interventions can achieve it. The study takes the European Union (EU) funded Participatory Rangeland Management (PRM) project in Kenya as example. The main objective of PRM is to improve the management of rangelands in pastoralist communities in East Africa. Drawing on a review of gender mainstreaming theories and on primary data from project documents and interviews in Kenya, the paper examines how the PRM project addresses ‘gender equality,’ ‘gender,’ ‘women’ and ‘men’ in policy and project design, and which gendered outcomes it produces. Furthermore, it discusses PRM’s potential and challenges for changing inequal gender relations, and lessons learnt for transnational interventions and gender equality in general. The results show that PRM takes a mainly integrationist approach to gender mainstreaming, uses the concepts ‘gender’ and ‘women’ almost interchangeably, and that its gender relevant activities are an add-on to its main intervention strategy. In PRM’s conceptualization, gender equality is equal opportunities for and integration of women into existing development interventions and social structures. In this way, gender equality comes to mean that women should adapt, change, and integrate into existing male-dominated structures, while men and structures do not change. To understand how gender equality is addressed and operationalised in transnational interventions it is important to separate gender mainstreaming as a research topic in project design and as a staffing issue within organisations.