CGIAR Gender

Integrating gender into other research areas: challenges and opportunities



Gender research in CGIAR Research Programs has a dual function: (1) to influence the way a  Program plans and conducts its research and (2) to produce gender research that is put into use for development impact. Three rounds of discussions were held with gender research coordinators to facilitate the sharing of their experiences with regards to

  • what extent gender research has influenced planning and priority setting in their relevant CRPs
  • crucial bottlenecks impeding progress on this task
  • good practices or initiatives that could be adopted more widely.
Gender and economics workshop summary document
Download this post as a pdf here.

This discussion drew on the Gender Annex (view all annexes submitted here) prepared by each Program for its Phase II Proposal- an analytical essay prepared because the Fund Council had asked for a reflection on how the past four years of emphasis on gender mainstreaming had influenced and shaped the direction of the new proposals. The purpose of these discussions was therefore, to distill some lessons learned, identify challenges faced and exchange good ideas that have been developed thus far.

Below are some of the areas and initiatives discussed as good practice

Provide a framework to guide integration

Integration of gender with other, technical research areas can be easier to guide when gender researchers provide an overarching framework for identifying and interpreting cause-effect relationships between gender variables and between gender and other factors in the Program’s theory of change.

Develop strong partnerships with external sources of expertise

CGIAR Research Programs cannot expect to assemble all the expertise in gender research needed, within the program alone. Within the current CGAIR landscape, fostering partnerships with advanced research organizations, universities in particular, is proving to be a good practice.

Capacity development

Effective gender mainstreaming does not take place exclusively by training every type of researcher to become an analyst of gender relations. Several types of capacity development are needed, one of which is awareness-building which aims to enable non-social scientists to better understand why gender differences will affect the impact of their work.

Food for further thought…

  • Getting buy-in from research leaders was a clear and obvious requirement for ensuring better integration of gender within the research planning and priority process.
  • Progress has been made in terms of awareness building and coaching scientists on why and how  to integrate gender in technical research areas
  • With support from leadership, there are practical ways to improve accountability for execution of proposed gender research and budgets
  • Gender research still needs to progress from a focus on diagnosis (why gender is important) to an emphasis on influencing the development of actionable gender-responsive or transformative technologies, institutions and policy options
  • Whilst there is ambition to implement transformative approaches, broad acceptance of this as a suitable goal of CRPs remains a bottleneck and this will be a challenge for Phase IICRPs. 

Additional resources:

Spatial mapping of SDD aids priority setting

Mapping of gender and natural resources, as in the case of the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE), helped provide insights useful for setting priorities regarding access to and use of ecosystem services and natural resources. Better known as “Four Gender Basin Profiles,” the project collated data for each of the WLE focal regions to build indicator maps and profiles of regional gender issues.

Shared online spaces

Building a thematic blog such as the Gender-Nutrition Idea Exchange helps not only document but also provides a central space for gender research activities being carried out by partners.

Livestock and Fish uses a section of the program’s central wikispace to document strategies, news, tools and resources related to its focus on gender, learning and impact.

Gender and economics workshop summary document
Download this post as a pdf here.