CGIAR Gender News

Seeds of Change harvest: Bring men in focus in gender research and programming – Agnes Quisumbing (A4NH)

Seeds of Change participants Photo: Patrick Cape/ACIAR.

During the Seeds of Change conference, we approached several personalities from the ‘Gender in Agriculture’ crowd to interview them on their work, on their insights about the conference and their outlook on the next frontiers of our field of research. Find an overview of all conference related outputs here.

In this interview, we feature Dr. Agnes Quisumbing, senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

What is exciting (and/or challenging) about this conference, its contents and the fact that for the first time the CGIAR community is also mixing up with the wider ‘GenderInAg’ community?

What’s exciting is the depth and breadth of the research on gender and agriculture. Seeing CGIAR gender research ‘mixed up‘ with the wider community showcases both its generally high quality and areas where it can learn from other research being undertaken in the academe and from programs being implemented by governments and civil society organizations.  It also demonstrates the catalyzing influence of being exposed to a wider world of ideas beyond the CGIAR gender world.

What have been your conference highlights and what has inspired you to try back home/to your work?

My highlights have not been on research topics per se, but the interactions with gender researchers from all over. Because the research covered many geographical areas where I don’t work, it was very interesting to see how gender dynamics play out in different cultures. I also appreciated the very inspiring keynote speeches from an exciting array of very impassioned and articulate speakers.

One thing (not related to research topics) I took to the workshop just following the conference was the acknowledgement of country. We held a small workshop just after the conference, and I decided that it was appropriate to do this. It brought back our great debt to those who came before us, and also highlighted the importance of acknowledging indigenous knowledge systems. We probably could do more of this in our work in general.

What do you see as one of the ‘next frontiers’ of gender in agriculture research in the next few years?

I would like to see gender research and programming paying more attention to the role of men and masculinities, because we have often relied on women to do the work of transforming gender relations, addressing gender imbalances, etc.  Gender norms are not going to change unless we bring men on board.  How to do this in programmatic settings is something that interests me, and I would like to see research supporting and evaluating efforts to do so.

What are you currently working on and what are you contemplating as your next area of focus/piece of research?

I am currently working on developing metrics for women’s (and men’s) empowerment in agriculture, and testing these with a portfolio of 13 agricultural development projects. This is still ongoing work, and I can see it expanding to areas like value chains and possibly even non-agriculture. I would like to see these metrics for women’s empowerment embedded in national statistical systems. I think I will continue working on assessing what approaches work best to empower women and transform gender norms.