CGIAR Gender

Gender and breeding

Research and development programs must further be concerned with designing transformative policies and other interventions that alter the gender norms that restrict equal access to and ownership of assets and resources as well as women’s decision-making power. Photo: Georgina Smith/CIAT
Photo: Georgina Smith/CIAT

The gender and breeding working group’s activities provide an opportunity for collaborative work across CGIAR and its partner breeding programs. Recognizing that it can be taxing for individual breeding projects to understand farmer preferences differentiated by gender, region and culture, this initiative brings together knowledge across CGIAR Research Programs on practical approaches to help breeding programs take gender differences into account.


  • Bring together a community of researchers working in the field of gender and breeding
  • Recognize that gender is more than just a consideration at the participatory variety stage, but earlier on as well
  • Foster a better understanding of gender disaggregated trait preferences and work towards ensuring that breeders are more conscious of this throughout all stages of the research process
  • Work towards training breeders in understanding gender concepts and applying them in formulating questionnaires and surveys
  • Equip breeders with a basic understanding of gender issues

Important issues

  • The importance of linking genetic gains with preferences and mainly thinking in terms of demand-driven breeding
  • Food and nutrition security – need a stronger link between breeders and gender and for breeders to better understand how to mainstream gender in their work
  • Differential preferences in the context of nutrition cannot be ignored
  • Moving from a focus on quantity to quality
  • Moving from program design to impact at the household level


  • Provide clear guidance on how breeders can mainstream gender in their work
  • Provide evidence- develop case studies where breeders have been responsive as to how to breed crops in a more gender sensitive way or incorporate gender in their criteria
  • Support the members of this community
  • Debunk myths on gender and breeding
  • Develop a theory of change


  • Workshop in 2017 on gender and breeding to bring together breeders, social scientists  and farmers to discuss  what’s happening in this field, share effective strategies and promote innovative approaches
  • Conduct a literature review, to synthesize what is currently known about gender differences in farmer preferences, and assist breeders and social scientists to efficiently locate, exchange and pool this knowledge
  • Foster the use of a collaborative space to exchange ideas, collective knowledge and work towards some shared goals
  • Provide a common point of reference for good practice on how to stay abreast of gendered farmer preferences and the latest thinking on breeding strategies that produce concrete benefits for women producers beyond nutrition
  • Survey of traits currently being worked on and their gender relevance: to benchmark which traits are currently being worked on in breeding programs, the survey aims to build a picture of how CGIAR and partners are addressing gender-differentiated trait preferences, identify important examples of work in progress, and encourage knowledge-sharing about gender-responsive breeding strategies




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.