CGIAR Gender

CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research

How evolving gender norms and social change impact rural farming communities

Rural areas worldwide are experiencing profound and rapid transformations.

New challenges and opportunities differ for women and men, who are influencing and responding to rural change in various ways.

As they develop and adopt new practices, what it means to be a woman or a man also changes.

Designed for a broad audience, the GENNOVATE video and its accompanying stories (see links below) raise awareness about and explore the interlinkages between gender norms, agency, and innovation in agriculture and natural resource management from the perspectives of local women and men themselves. By actively involving women and men farmers as first person narrators who articulate their experiences and perspectives in their own words, the videos complement GENNOVATE's other research products and reify the project’s core concerns of voice, agency, and empowerment.


Changing views about women’s capacities as farmers                            

Expanding economic agency amid sticky gender norms                                      

The challenges of widowhood                                                                       

When new technology disrupts traditional gender roles in agriculture

The videos include stories of men and women from Mexico, Tanzania, and Nepal. While the context of each story is unique, there are many similarities in the ways in which change enters into the narrative of each story and impacts people’s lives; and in how people seek to adapt to it. In the first story from Mexico, an indigenous woman farmer breaks with traditional agricultural custom and learns to plow the land after her husband migrates to the US. In the second, a young woman entrepreneur takes advantage of shifting societal norms that open space for women to work for pay, by pursuing a tortilla business. In Tanzania, widows struggle after their husbands’ deaths to take over farm duties and fulfill their economic provider roles in order to feed themselves and their families. And in Nepal, women farmers face uncertainty due to an innovation that replaces manual farm tasks traditionally done by women. The stories reflect a range of rural transformations taking place in farming communities across the South. They illustrate how such changes affect men and women differently in the context of local gender stereotypes and cultural norms. In the face of new challenges and opportunities, men and women devise strategies for moving their own projects forward, whether by conforming to, negotiating, or challenging local expectations.