CGIAR Gender News

Seeds of Change harvest: Inspiring examples of community partnering – Annet Mulema (ILRI)

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.

Annet Mulema, gender scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute (photo credit: ILRI)
Annet Mulema, gender scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute (photo credit: ILRI)

In this interview, we feature Annet Mulema, gender scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). She reflects on …

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 was most exciting is having the CGIAR organize a gender conference with the University of Canberra and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) to specifically hold conversations on gender in agriculture in a safe place. Interactions between CGIAR and universities on gender-related issues seem to be marginal and this conference provided a stepping stone to further strengthen these interaction. Jayne Curnow (ACIAR) referred to these as ‘intellectual bridges‘.

Secondly, the conference provided a platform to start thinking about the future of gender research. Additionally, having men speak about masculinities and how its manifested, from their own point of view, was very exciting. Getting to meet and listen to Naila Kabeer was a rewarding experience.

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

I was very much impressed by the methodologies used by the university of Canberra to change rural livelihoods in Papua New Guinea. Although some of the approaches where not totally new to me, the family farm approach and community partnering for local development was quite impressive. We can do more at scaling successful ways to approach and document processes of change.

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

We need to better document economic empowerment processes. To economically empower women, we also need functional markets where women can flourish. We need to focus more on engaging men to address masculinities that block women’s progress and subsequently affect the well-being of household members. I also think we need more systematic methodologies to study women’s and men’s labor allocations in productive activities and the returns to labor.

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

Currently, I am working on understanding processes that empower women and testing gender transformative approaches. Addressing productivity challenges alone is not enough. If the gender gap in production and incomes is to be addressed, we need to tackle the underlying factors that constrain women’s access to and control of resources, benefits and services. These have to be handled in an integrated manner, which, calls for gender capacity development within organizations.