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We’ve moved!

The Gender & Food Policy Blog has migrated over to a new site. Please navigate over to Gender @ IFPRI for IFPRI gender news and resources:


Gender & Food Policy Blog posts are archived on this new site. We won’t be posting further here. Thanks!


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WEBINAR: Data and information management tools for the CGIAR Gender and Agriculture Research Network

Date: Wednesday, June 1, 2016 Time: 09:00 a.m. EST

Background: The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) provides support on communications, data and information management to the CGIAR Gender and Agriculture Research Network. A key component of this initiative is to provide data and information management tools and systems to support the needs and requirements of the network and its members.

Purpose: The purpose of this webinar is to showcase how members of the CGIAR Gender and Agriculture Research Network can use two data management tools recently developed by CIAT.

The first is an inventory which aggregates gender research studies from across the CGIAR Consortium and displays it in an easily accessible central space. The second, is a navigator that shows how users can navigate the sex-disaggregated data matrix developed by the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM), thereby allowing for a more in-depth search.

Feedback and input from this webinar will be used to further refine and improve these tools and the suite of support provided by CIAT to the gender network.

Presenter:  Leroy Mwanzia, Data and Information Manager, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
Leroy leads CIAT’s  data and information management team which is responsible for managing the Center’s research data and outputs in line with the CGIAR Open Access and Data Management policy.  He has over 10 years of experience creating and working with large information management and data management systems. He previously worked with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in Nairobi, creating research data management systems.

About this webinar series: This is the third in a recent webinar series on issues related to gender and agriculture developed by the CGIAR Gender and Agriculture Research Network in collaboration with CGIAR Research Programs and partners. It has been designed as a knowledge sharing tool to facilitate learning and exchange.

Click here to register for the webinar.

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EVENT: INGENAES Global Symposium and Learning Exchange

ingenaes symposium

REGISTER:  http://bit.ly/1XCwkr9

MORE INFO:  ingenaes.Illinois.edu/2017symposium

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EMPLOYMENT: Senior Program Officer, Gender Equality at Gates Foundation


Please view full job posting and apply here


Assist the Director, Gender Equality, in driving the Gender Equality cross-foundation vision:

The Senior Program Officer, Gender Equality will work with the Director, Gender Equality to develop a cross-foundation Statement of Commitment and associated programmatic theory of change on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. The Senior Program Officer, Gender Equality will provide program-specific technical support to the development of a time-bound foundation-wide strategy on gender equality which articulates how the foundation will achieve its overarching commitments to gender equality, including through strategic investments with partners.

Strategic Counsel to and resource for the Program Strategy Teams (PSTs):

The SPO Gender Equality will advise and bring subject matter expertise to GD teams as they address the specific needs of women and girls and explore where gender equality/girls and women’s empowerment may make a difference in their strategies. This role will help support teams in crafting strategic questions about the role of gender equality and women’s empowerment in their programs, and assist teams in identifying appropriate data and evidence to support their strategic inquiries.

To that end, the Senior Program Officer, Gender Equality will work together with targeted PSTs to develop a sector specific strategic approach on gender equality, defining the plan, driving the execution and measuring the progress under the direction of the Director of Gender Equality. The Senior Program Officer, Gender Equality will collaborate with at least 4 prioritized PSTs and the India Country Office, to develop a targeted gender strategy, identify data gaps and investment opportunities that accelerate overall impact within and across PSTs. The Senior Program Officer, Gender Equality will carefully structure this deep technical work around an Action-Learning approach that tracks the changes in program effectiveness for women and girls, and inspires learning across the foundation. The Senior Program Officer, Gender Equality will also develop practical program tools to guide and support the integration of gender equality within grants across PSTs (i.e. program design and evaluation tools, gender analysis).

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NEWS: Gates Foundation announces $80 million commitment to close gender data gaps


New initiative will promote gender equality and support the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

SEATTLE/COPENHAGEN (May 17, 2016) – In her keynote speech today at the Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen, Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced that the foundation will commit $80 million over the next three years to close gender data gaps and help accelerate progress for women and girls around the world. Alongside the Gates Foundation’s commitment, partners across governments, nonprofits and philanthropic organizations have also agreed upon a new statement of principles regarding gender data and its importance for accelerating development outcomes.

Data holds power: It demonstrates the size and nature of social or economic problems, and brings clarity around who is falling through the cracks. Through reliable data, women and girls’ lives can become visible and counted, helping to inform programming and hold leaders to account. However, a lack of comprehensive, current information about women and girls, especially in developing countries, hinders efforts to advance gender equality. If the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are to be reached by 2030, the world must advance its knowledge about women and girls’ lives and livelihoods, their welfare and well-being, and their contributions to their communities, countries and economies.

“By adopting the SDGs the world agreed to achieve gender equality by 2030. But we cannot close the gender gap without first closing the data gap,” said Melinda Gates. “We simply don’t know enough about the barriers holding women and girls back, nor do we have sufficient information to track progress against the promises made to women and girls. We are committed to changing that by investing in better data, policies and accountability.”

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CALL FOR PAPERS: India, Gender & Food Security Papers


Open Window:  12 MAY 2016 – 27 MAY 2016

The India Food Security Portal,facilitated by IFPRI, is organizing a one day workshop on Gender and Food Security in India to be held on August 29 in New Delhi. As noted in a recent blog, women’s participation in food production often goes unrecorded but is critical to ensuring access and utilization of food in India. For this reason, a workshop entitled “Gender-Just Food Security” was held in December in Gujarat; for a summary of those discussions, visit our blog.  For this follow-up event, we plan to carry those discussions forward and bring together national policy makers, researchers, donors and implementers to present the most recent evidence on gender and food security in India that will contribute to the ongoing local policy debate.

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TRAINING: Call for United Nations University Gender Equality Studies and Training Programme

UNU-gest.jpgFor more information, see the attached call: UNU-GEST open call 2017

  1. United Nations University Gender Equality Studies and Training (UNU-GEST) Programme at the University of Iceland.

The UNU-GEST Programme at the University of Iceland is inviting government ministries and agencies, NGOs, civil society foundations and international development partners working in the field of gender equality to nominate and encourage promising young professionals to apply for a five-month fellowships in the 2017 Post-Graduate Diploma Programme in international gender studies. Attached is the nomination call and information on the UNU-GEST diploma programme.

The UNU-GEST programme invites organizations to co-sponsor a fellowship of local specialists in the area of gender equality in developing countries, conflict and post-conflict countries. To date, the fellows have been drawn from Afghanistan, Malawi, Mozambique, Palestine, Ghana, South Africa and Uganda. There may be opportunities for linking fellowships to Joint Programme-supported activities, particularly for the applied project that the fellows undertake during their programme.

Nominations must be received no later than 1 June 2016 at: http://gest.unu.edu/en/education/diploma-programme/admission. The nomination form is directly accessible from this link: http://gest.unu.edu/en/education/diploma-programme/admission/form-for-nomination-of-fellowships.

Please feel free to forward this call to appropriate partners.  Please do not hesitate to contact Ms. Kristjana Sigurbjörnsdóttir, project manager at UNU-GEST (kristjanas@hi.is) for further information.

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BLOG: Why does paying attention to gender matter for climate change adaptation?

This blog post by Elizabeth Bryan, Patti Kristjanson, and Claudia Ringler summarizes recent research by IFPRI on gender and climate change under the CGIAR Program for Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security. Click here to read why gender matters for climate change adaptation.

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BLOG: We don’t know how many women own land. Why?

by Cheryl Doss, Yale University
Tuesday, 17 May 2016 16:00 GMT

We know women’s legal rights to own, inherit and farm land are crucial. So why is it still so hard to know how many women have rights? The importance of women’s rights to land and property are increasingly being recognized – both as human rights and as fundamental building blocks for economic development.

However the promotion of women’s access to land is hampered by the fact that there are no systematically collected data on women’s land rights or access to land.

This gap in understanding was highlighted during construction of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which call for indicators of women’s secure land tenure and women’s legal rights to land.

Better data would not only be valuable to clarify the extent of gender inequality in land holdings but also to help lay to rest the widely used but unsubstantiated claim that women own only one or two percent of the world’s land.

Better data can also support the monitoring of programs and policies designed to strengthen women’s rights to property and help to ensure that policies without a gender focus do not, in fact, end up weakening or violating women’s property rights.

So what data is needed and how can we obtain it?

Read the rest of the post on Thomson Reuters Foundation News.


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BLOG: Can cash transfers prevent intimate partner violence?

Can cash transfers prevent intimate partner violence?

MAY 17, 2016

By Melissa Hidrobo, Amber Peterman, and Shalini Roy

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is the most pervasive form of violence globally—with 1 in 3 women physically or sexually abused by a partner in her lifetime. Of course, averages hide important disparities: Women living in Tokyo’s bustling urban affluence face a different probability of victimization than an impoverished women living in the sprawling slums of Lagos. Yet, partner violence remains stubbornly high—affecting women in all walks of life across the globe.

Despite knowing a lot about prevalence and detrimental impacts of IPV, we are still at the infancy of knowing what works to prevent violence. One focus has been on transforming patriarchal and inequitable attitudes and norms that sustain violence. While enormous progress has been made in the last decade, largely by public health professionals and epidemiologists, in designing and testing interventions — this is no easy task. Social norms that perpetuate gender inequalities are hard to measure and may take years to show meaningful shifts. Equally important are the costs and challenges of taking such interventions to scale. More recently, development economists have explored this question from a different angle, from the start point of anti-poverty programming, including cash transfers. Cash transfers are a widely used policy tool for decreasing poverty and improving human capital, reaching up to 1 billion people across Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Cash is often given directly to women, thus potentially changing power dynamics within the household and social norms. Their scale and reach to the most vulnerable populations have led many to ask, “If cash can change household well-being and power dynamics within households, can cash transfers also be used to decrease IPV?”


In 2011, the World Food Programme (WFP) commissioned the International Food Policy Research Institute(IFPRI) to conduct a five country study comparing the effectiveness of food and cash transfers in improving food security of poor households, in Bangladesh, Ecuador, Niger, Uganda, and Yemen. In two of the countries – Ecuador and Bangladesh – research teams were motivated to learn more about how these programs affected gender dynamics within households and expanded the studies to allow a closer look at women’s lives over the intervention period. In particular, quantitative and qualitative methods were used to assess the impact of transfers, given primarily to women, on gender dynamics and IPV. Impact evaluations were conducted using the gold-standard, randomized controlled trials, which allow a causal link to be established between the interventions and IPV.

Collecting data on IPV within economic or poverty targeted interventions is atypical, but these studies highlight that we can learn a lot by doing so, even when reducing violence and altering gender dynamics are not the primary aims of the intervention. Taking certain measures when collecting IPV data is important, however.  Enumerators must be adequately trained on how to solicit sensitive information and how to enactsafety measures that guarantee privacy during interviews and that ensure no other household member is aware that survey questions ask about IPV. Enumerators should also provide all women with disguised contact information for local IPV support services for referral if available, regardless of disclosure of IPV. In order to elicit accurate assessments of violence, quantitative surveys should ask multiple behaviorally specific questions on a range of abusive acts, a technique shown to maximize disclosure; in Ecuador and Bangladesh, research teams administered the internationally validated standardized IPV measures from theWHO Violence Against Women Instrument. For qualitative in-depth interviews, similar protocols of privacy and safety should be enacted. Committing to a safe, ethical, and valid data collection process for IPV does involve small increases in time and resources—but doing so within an existing impact evaluation can add a lot to what is learned.

What have we learned so far? The recently completed Ecuador study, published in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, shows that women in households that were given economic based transfers (food, cash or food vouchers) along with nutrition training showed significant decreases in physical and/or sexual violence and controlling behaviors by their partners over the six month study period (decreases ranging from 19 – 30%). What was responsible for these changes? A mixed methods study forthcoming inBMC Public Health, reveals that a key factor was the decreases in poverty-related stress alongside increases in food security of households, which led to less tension and arguments over women needing to ask men for money to buy food. A second factor was that, by targeting women, the transfer program empowered women, improving their bargaining power in the household, self-confidence, and freedom of movement.

Although these results are promising, there is still a lot we do not know. For example, many cash transfers including the Ecuador program combine transfers with other components, such as nutrition trainings and conditions related to education and health, which may have implications for women’s social or human capital. So far, no study has been able to disentangle the impacts of cash versus the other components on IPV. Moreover, we still do not know enough about whether in specific contexts or sub-groups, women might actually be put in danger from receiving cash, due to men utilizing IPV as a method to extract the cash or due to the shift in power dynamics leading to male backlash if men use IPV to re-assert their authority. Most evidence to date on cash transfers and IPV has been in Latin America and given that the effects on IPV may depend on gender norms that vary by context, we need to collect evidence from other regions before concluding that transfers can reduce IPV globally.

This is where the ongoing Bangladesh study fits in. Recently awarded funding from the World Bank Group and nonprofit Sexual Violence Research Initiative, the Bangladesh case study will help to fill these knowledge gaps in several ways. First, the intervention has both transfer-only arms and combined transfer-and-child-nutrition-training arms. Since the intervention arms are assigned randomly, we can disentangle, for example, whether a transfer is enough for impacts on IPV or whether adding training is really necessary. Second, the study comes from a context where IPV is very high – about 53-62 percent of women in Bangladesh report experiencing it in their lifetimes – and where gender norms are very different from Latin America.  For example, female seclusion (women staying inside the home) is a strong sociocultural norm in rural South Asia.  This means that the specific pathway found in Ecuador – disputes being reduced because women no longer need to ask for money for daily purchases like food – may not apply in this context, as men are the ones who typically go to the market. Changes in female bargaining from transfers to women may also play out differently – a study published in Journal of Development Economics showed that, in rural Bangladesh, even when a transfer was specifically targeted to a woman, many dimensions of control over the transfer still went to her husband. Patriarchal norms could also plausibly contribute to backlash if large transfers to women subvert traditional power dynamics.

In a world where we struggle to identify cost-effective and scalable programming to reduce IPV, poverty-targeted interventions such as cash transfers are emerging as promising tools for decreasing IPV. There is still a lot we need to learn: More data and studies are needed on cash transfers and IPV in different contexts, with a specific focus on measuring potential pathways such as bargaining power, stress, and gender norms. We are still a long way from where we need to be – no woman, man or child should suffer from violence inside their own home – but just maybe cash transfers offer a tool to shift us in the right direction.

About the authors
Melissa Hidrobo and Shalini Roy are research fellows in the Poverty, Health, and Nutrition Division of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Amber Peterman, former IFPRI research fellow, is a social policy specialist at UNICEF.

The World Food Programme impact evaluation studies referred to in this blog were undertaken as part of PIM’s research on Improved Social Protection for Vulnerable Populations. The Ecuador study was supported by funding from the Government of Spain received through the World Food Programme, as well as from International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) and an anonymous donor. The Bangladesh impact evaluation received financial support from the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the PIM Data Collection Innovations fund, and the IFPRI’s Bangladesh Policy Research and Strategy Support Program.

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