Women in smallholder farm households do much of the work on roots, tubers and bananas. They produce and process the crops, but they don’t always get an equitable share of any profits that ensue. For that reason, the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) incorporated gender considerations in its work from the start.
“We know that innovations in roots, tubers and bananas can improve food security, nutrition and incomes while boosting resilience to climate change,” says Vivian Polar, Gender and Innovation Senior Specialist with RTB. “But to do that well requires us to understand how women and men differ in their expectations and uptake of innovations.”
RTB has recently published a brief looking back over its gender research work and efforts to incorporate gender across its entire research portfolio. With a focus on plant breeding, seed systems and the scaling of innovations, RTB research has resulted in the deployment of tools specifically designed to give those areas a gender lens through which to examine and adapt their activities.
RTB’s work on gender is participatory and operates through partnerships and alliances with existing women’s networks. It often focuses on capacity development, giving women the skills and opportunities they need to make more of RTB crops. And it tries to collect information on outcomes and impacts that can provide a gender dimension for feedback and cyclical project development.