CGIAR Gender News

Seeds of Change harvest: Find a mentor and engage, in all kinds of ways! – Rhiannon Pyburn (co-convener)

Seeds of Change participants Photo: Patrick Cape/ACIAR.

During the Seeds of Change conference, we approached several scientists 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.

Rhiannon Pyburn, coordinator of the CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research (photo credit: KIT Royal Tropical Institute)
Rhiannon Pyburn, coordinator of the CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research (photo credit: KIT Royal Tropical Institute)

In this special interview, we feature co-convener Rhiannon Pyburn, Coordinator of the CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research. She shares her favorite insights from Seeds of Change and what the conference means for the Gender Platform, CGIAR gender community and up and share coming gender scientists.

What is exciting/challenging about this conference, its contents and the fact that the wider ‘GenderInAg community’ is together in this?

The Canberra conference was a fantastic opportunity to bring CGIAR gender researchers and the broader gender / agriculture (ag) / natural resource management (NRM) community together to share ideas, learning and to be exposed to other perspectives. It was very exciting to hear from researchers who focus on other parts of the world with diverse views on gender/ag/NRM issues.  A challenge was getting everyone to Australia, but we succeeded for the most part, with the cooperation and commitment of the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM), in particular, who subsidized many CGIAR researchers’ participation.

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

Katherine Gibson and Naila Kabeer’s presentations were outstanding. It’s just excellent to hear directly from these women who are intellectual pillars on gender and development with so many years of experience and theoretical rigor. Both are inspirational in different ways. They take our collective thinking to a next level.

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

Masculinities is an exciting area moving forward, as is all work that engages in the complexity of exploring the multiple identities and social categories that women and men inhabit. I am also very enthused about the potential of Gender Transformative Approaches in agriculture/NRM and how we can do research differently to spark and support gender equality.

What are you currently working on and what are you hoping to be able to focus on next?)

The Gender Platform is in a period of transition. For me, the exciting work ahead includes synthesis around the CGIAR-wide gender research grants on seed systems, feminization of agriculture and value chains

What did Seeds of Change mean for the CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research?

In 2017, the CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research convened its first annual scientific conference. Seeds of Change is the third annual conference and the first one to be jointly convened with other leaders in the gender/agriculture/NRM space. Our researchers were able to profile key initiatives, present ongoing research and contribute to discussions taking place in parts of the world where they are less active (e.g. the South Pacific). This sharing of perspectives and understanding was very enriching for all.

Any advice for aspiring gender scientists?

Find a mentor. Read, read and read some more! Engage with both leaders and the young up-and-coming thinkers in the sector! Let yourself be challenged by the discussions you engage in and don’t be afraid to challenge others also.

Humility and modesty are important characteristics for understanding, listening and empathizing with others. Nurture your own development as a person as well as a scientist. Life is about so much more than publications!