By Nozomi Kawarazuka, Associate Scientist (Gender), International Potato Center (CIP), Vietnam.
Last month in Cali, Colombia, I presented my research study on gender and mechanization at the 18th Symposium of International Society for Tropical Root Crops (ISTRC). To my delight, out of the 70 presentations with 200 participants, I won the best presentation award. I would like to share this great news with my colleagues and friends who have been making tremendous efforts to integrate gender in agricultural research.
The majority of presentations focused on breeding, agronomy, pests and diseases, and the nutritional content of root crops. I presented how women’s needs and interests were ignored in the processes of mechanization in both agriculture and domestic work.
“Nozomi’s presentation was outstanding at the ISTRC because of the clarity and the elegance of her explanation. She used simple but engaging visual elements and learning examples to explain how women can be disadvantaged through mechanization. She also brought in humour on a difficult topic and her tongue in cheek suggestion to paint machines pink so that they would only be used by women had us all laughing. But also questioning why we were laughing on this important topic. Its very impressive achievement for a talk on gender which often is buried underground like our crops to get top prize at ISTRC meeting”.
(Graham Thiele, Director CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas [RTB]).
Who could’ve predicted that a gender presentation would win the top award in a conference on root crops? I think nobody, including myself. I am so grateful that gender research was recognized as a science in the root crops community and the value of gender research was acknowledged in this way. I feel that gender has entered a new era in the agricultural research community.
In the CGIAR community, I feel that I am at the bottom of the hierarchy of scientists. For some male scientists, I am almost invisible, as if I am living underground. During the award ceremony, I felt that I had finally emerged and saw a lot of light. I appreciate all those gender researchers and CRP and center directors who have supported gender over the past decades, and I encourage gender researchers across the world to continue our work on gender, despite the resistance to it from some scientists. Gender research can win the best award in a science conference – this gives us great hope.
You can see the awarded presentation here: Mechanization for scaling from a gender perspective