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 Ana Maria Paez Valencia, gender social scientist at World Agroforestry (ICRAF). She reflects on new trends in gender in agriculture, and what the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry intends to do in this field.
What is exciting and/or challenging about this conference, its contents and the fact that the wider ‘GenderInAg community’ is together in this?
The recent CGIAR scientific conferences offered a very valuable space for the discussion and exchange of new approaches that recognize complexities in the natural resource management domain and that try to challenge the gender norms and roles that determine the allocation of duties and resources, both at the household and at the community levels.
What do you see as one of the ‘next frontiers’ of gender in agriculture research in the next few years?
We see a consensus building around the fact that targeting and involving women in projects and programs does not automatically lead to more equitable benefits, and that…
…there is a need for developing innovative methods that look beyond disparities between men and women, and facilitate critical awareness of traditional gender roles that impede the equitable achievement of benefits for both men and women.
What are you currently working on and what are you hoping to be able to focus on next?
In the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agrofestry (FTA) and at World Agroforestry we are currently exploring approaches that aim at fostering transformational change in gender relations that affect food security and resilience. That is the case of the IFAD-funded West Africa Forest Farm Interface (WAFFI) project, where close interaction with the project team allowed to address the gender dimensions of tree-resources dependency early on. This helped develop an innovative approach that brought together elements of the Gender Action Learning Systems (Mayoux, 2014) and the Forestry Poverty Toolkit (Shepherd, 2009) with system thinking. The purpose was to evidence how the gender gap in control over resources and decision limits the potential of land restoration efforts, and the enhanced opportunities of income from trees. The project brought this information back to the communities through structured community dialogues where participants were encouraged and motivated to reflect on how local gender norms generate constraints and limit their opportunities to increase resilience in landscapes and livelihoods
The experience has been welcomed both internally and externally and the Flagship team is considering ways to adopt this approach in efforts for land restoration and increased resilience that can also transform gender norms that restrict women from the benefits of landscape restoration.