Leave a comment

Takeaways from twenty years of gender and rural development research at IFPRI: Household decision making and women’s control over resources

Returning back home after working in field at Khagrachari, Bangladesh. Photo: Farha Khan. Source: Flickr (IFPRI Images)

Returning back home after working in field at Khagrachari, Bangladesh. Photo: Farha Khan. Source: Flickr (IFPRI Images)

The following blog by IFPRI gender experts Sophie Theis, Agnes Quisumbing, and Ruth Meinzen-Dick is the first in a four-part series leading up to the Policy Seminar on “Beijing +20 and Beyond: How Gender Research Is Changing the Landscape of Food Policy,” to be held on October 14, 2015 at IFPRI’s Washington, DC headquarters. The blog was originally posted on IFPRI.org.

It’s been twenty years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action launched an agenda for gender equality as a human right, a condition for social justice, and a “necessary and fundamental prerequisite for equality, development, and peace.” Beijing set its sights on removing all barriers for women’s equal participation in public and private spheres. The past twenty years have provided the opportunity for significant learning about how to do so, in a vast range of “spheres.”

In this context of looking back to look forward, we take stock of research at IFPRI over the past 20 years that contributed to advancing gender equality by generating evidence from action, and compelling action from the evidence produced. See full list of publications (PDF 94K).

In this blog series, we review key takeaways from the last 20 years of IFPRI gender research. This first blog of four explores two early themes of IFPRI gender research:

  • unpacking the “black box” of household decision making
  • understanding the impact of resources controlled by women

Tune in to the next post in the blog series to see how gender research at IFPRI has evolved since then, and join us on October 14th for an IFPRI policy seminar celebrating Beijing+20.

Most of the articles are published in peer-reviewed journals, but the hyperlinks provided go to the open access versions of the publications, except where noted with an asterisk.

Household decision making: unpacking the “black box”:

  • Men and women within households do not make decisions “as one”; they do not always pool resources or have the same preferences.  Therefore, it matters who within the household is targeted for development interventions (Haddad et al. 1997); increasing women’s control of resources is associated with better education, health, and nutrition outcomes for children (Quisumbing, ed. 2003).  These findings from IFPRI’s gender research are used to draw out Implications for practitioners and policymakers across a wide range of programmatic areas in Quisumbing and McClafferty (2006).
  • Across societies as diverse as Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and South Africa, assets at marriage influence men’s and women’s bargaining power within marriage.  In Bangladesh and South Africa, women’s assets increase expenditure shares on education, while in Ethiopia, men’s assets have this effect (Quisumbing and Maluccio 2003)*.
  • Bargaining power affects some, but not all, aspects of individual welfare within the household (Fafchamps, Kebede, Quisumbing 2009). In Ethiopia, the relative nutritional status of spouses is associated with differences in cognitive ability, independent income and asset devolution upon divorce. Women’s empowerment benefits child nutrition and education. All in all, bargaining power may be weakly associated with some aspects of intrahousehold welfare because surveyed households are poor and have little room for disagreement over consumption.

Human capital and resources controlled by women:

  • An important example of evidence to action, in 1997 the Government of Mexico, drew on the findings from the intrahousehold literature that resources under women’s control are important for child welfare for the design and implementation of PROGRESA (now called Oportunidades).  PROGRESA was a large, conditional cash transfer program targeting transfers to the mother within the household, conditional on children attending school and going to health clinics.  A subsequent evaluation of PROGRESA showed the program increased enrollment rates in secondary education for girls and yields positive impacts on child health and nutrition, educational attainment, and lifetime earnings of the poor (Skoufias 2001).
  • The findings of the evaluation of PROGRESA, in turn, influenced other countries to follow suit.  InConditional Cash Transfers in Latin America, Adato and Hoddinott (2010) analyze evidence from case studies of CCTs in Brazil, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua, considering their costs, impacts on education, health, nutrition, and food consumption, and how CCT programs affect social and gender relations.
  • Hallman (2003) finds that in Bangladesh, maternal and paternal shares of assets acquired before and during marriage have different impacts on boys’ and girls’ health.  A higher share of current assets held by fathers reduces boys’ illness days, while a higher share of pre-wedding assets held by mothers’ reduces girls’ morbidity.

Leave a comment

IFPRI Policy Seminar – Beijing+20 and Beyond: How Gender Research is Changing the Landscape of Food Policy

Beijing +20 and Beyond

How Gender Research Is Changing the Landscape of Food Policy
OCT 14, 2015 – 12:15 PM TO 01:45 PM EDT

Speakers: Marc Cohen, Senior Researcher, Humanitarian Policy, Oxfam America | Caren Grown, World Bank Group Senior Director, Gender | Agnes Quisumbing, Senior Research Fellow, Poverty, Health, and Nutrition Division, and Theme Leader, Gender Cross-Cutting Theme, IFPRI | Claudia Ringler, Deputy Division Director and Senior Research Fellow, Environment and Production Technology Division, IFPRI.

Over 20 years ago the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action launched an agenda for gender equality as a human right, a condition for social justice, and a “necessary and fundamental prerequisite for equality, development, and peace.”  This policy seminar provides a retrospective and prospective look on how gender research–and its application to policy issues–has changed the landscape of food policy and agricultural development programming.

Join us as Agnes Quisumbing (IFPRI) and Claudia Ringler (IFPRI) review the impact that IFPRI’s gender research has had on policy actions and interventions over the past 20 years, as well as present seminal work on gender and climate change. Marc Cohen (Oxfam America) and Caren Grown (World Bank) will offer the NGO and multilateral development institution perspectives on the influence of IFPRI’s gender research on their work.


Website for the event available here.

Leave a comment

Two employment Opportunities: UN Women/Oxfam and FAO

The 2006 IASC Gender Handbook is due for an update, as was recently done for its sister publication, the GBV Guidelines.  As per the GRG’s 2015 AWP, UN Women and Oxfam are facilitating this process and to this end, we are looking to hire a consultant to undertake the work.  The post has been advertised on UNDP’s job site at the following link:  https://jobs.undp.org/cj_view_job.cfm?cur_lang=en&cur_job_id=60251   The deadline for applications is 6th October.

FAO is looking for a senior consultant (policy expert) on gender and food security.

For more information please read the Terms of Reference or visit  http://www.fao.org/employment/current-vacancies/consultants/en/

Leave a comment

Update to IASC Guidelines for Integrating Gender-Based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action

The IASC Guidelines for Integrating Gender-Based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action has been updated (from 2005) and was launched with a great, accessible new website: http://gbvguidelines.org/

Leave a comment

IFPRI Gender Brown Bag: African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD): Can Capacity Building Be Measured?

The IFPRI Gender Task Force invites you to a Gender Brown Bag with:


African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD): Can Capacity Building Be Measured?

Presented by:

Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenburg, Ph.D.,Director, AWARD

Apollo Nkwake, Ph.D., Senior Manager, Monitoring and Evaluation, AWARD

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

12:30pm – 1:30pm

IFPRI, Conference Room 6A

Instructions for joining virtually are available at the end of this message.

Only one in four agricultural researchers in Africa is female, and worse, only one in seven leadership positions in African agricultural research institutions are held by women. African women remain underrepresented in the spaces where agricultural research priorities are set, resources allocated, and policy decisions made.

African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) is empowering a new generation of African women leaders in agricultural research and development using the African Women in Science Empowerment Model (AWSEM). This empowerment framework is based on the literature around capacity building and especially around the expansion of agency. Working with an evidence-informed and adaptive management approach, AWARD has, through a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, analyzed the design, implementation performance and progress towards the expected outcomes and long-term impacts of AWSEM. The results are compelling – and sometimes confounding.


 Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, Ph.D., Director, AWARD

 Prior to joining AWARD, Dr. Kamau-Rutenberg served as an assistant professor of Politics at the University of San Francisco.  She also founded and served as Executive Director of Akili Dada, an award-winning leadership incubator that invests in high-achieving young women from under-resourced families, who are passionate about driving social change.

She has received widespread recognition for her work investing in women, including being honored as a U.S. White House Champion of Change, named one of the 100 Most Influential Africans by New African magazine, recognized as a Ford Foundation Champion of Democracy, and named one of Kenya’s Top 40 Women Under Age 40.

Dr. Kamau-Rutenberg earned a PhD and a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Minnesota, and a BA in Politics from Whitman College, Washington State.


Apollo Nkwake, Ph.D. Senior Manager Monitoring and Evaluation, AWARD

 Prior to joining AWARD, Dr. Nkwake served as a research associate professor for Monitoring & Evaluation at Tulane University.  He has held a Senior M&E Advisor positions at the World Vision United States, University Research Co, and JSI Research and Training Institute.  He has research and M&E field experience with USAID, World Bank, DFID, UNICEF, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and World Vision programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Dr. Nkwake earned his PhD in social development from the University of Cape Town and holds Canadian Evaluation Society’s Credentialed Evaluator Designation.  His work focuses on developing and testing theories of change for gender responsive and effective development assistance. He has authored three books and several peer-reviewed journal articles/book chapters including: Credibility, Validity, and Assumptions in Program Evaluation Methodology (2015, Springer), Working with Assumptions in International Development Program Evaluation (2013, Springer), and Changing Gender Roles? A Study on Fathers’ Involvement in Childcare (2013, Tate).

Please find previous presentations from the IFPRI gender series on the IFPRI Gender Slideshare.

For more information about gender research at IFPRI, please visit the IFPRI Gender Research webpage: http://www.ifpri.org/topic/gender

Instructions for joining online via GoToMeeting:

  1. Please join my meeting.


  1. Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) – a headset is recommended. Or, call in using your telephone.

Dial +1 (312) 757-3121

Access Code: 457-402-429

Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

Meeting ID: 457-402-429


Open Call for agency-level advising services candidates: agency-level advising provided by INGENAES

Is your organization doing work in Zambia? The Integrating Nutrition and Gender within Agricultural Extension Services (INGENAES) project intends to help you to address the unique challenges specific to your organization and context – through confidential advising assistance targeted specifically to your organization. Click here for the full background and advising activity description. 

To apply to receive INGENAES advising services for projects in Zambia, please complete this survey by September 30.  If you have questions about the program please address them to Nikki Grey Rutamu at ngreyrutamu@ucdavis.edu

Leave a comment

Launch of UN Women flagship report, Progress of the World’s Women 2015-2016: Transforming Economies, Realizing Rights

The World Bank Group Gender Group and UN Women invite you to

UN Women’s Progress of the World’s Women 2015-2016

 Thursday, October 1, 2015

Room MC 4-800, 1818 H St NW



This event will be livestreamed here

Please join the WBG Gender Group at the Washington DC launch of UN Women’s flagship report, Progress of the World’s Women 2015-2016: Transforming Economies, Realizing Rights. This report draws on promising experiences from around the world, proposing a comprehensive agenda for key policy actors-including gender equality advocates, national governments, and international agencies-to make human rights a lived reality for all women and girls. A frequent WBG partner on a range of issues, UN Women has released this report at a pivotal moment for global development, 20 years after the landmark Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and ahead of the adoption of new global Sustainable Development Goals.

Progress of the World’s Women finds that despite some significant advances toward gender equality, persistent gaps between males and females remain-hindering efforts to end poverty and preventing individuals and economies alike from achieving their full potential. Embedded in a framework of substantive equality, the report focuses on three interrelated challenges: transforming paid and unpaid work for women’s rights; making social policy work for women; and creating an enabling macroeconomic environment.


Caren Grown, Senior Director, Gender Cross-Cutting Solutions Area, The World Bank Group


Shahrashoub Razavi, Chief, Research and Data, UN Women

James Heintz, Andrew Glyn Professor of Economics, Associate Director of Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts, Amhurst


Samuel Otoo, Economic Adviser, Macroeconomics and Fiscal Management Global Practice, The World Bank Group

Caren Grown, Senior Director, Gender CCSA, is an internationally recognized expert on gender issues in development. Prior to joining the Bank, she was Economist-In-Residence and co-director of the Program on Gender Analysis in Economics at American University (AU) in Washington, DC. In 2013-2014, she led the UNU-WIDER program on aid effectiveness and gender equality. During 2011-2013 she served as Senior Gender Advisor and Acting Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), where she crafted the Agency’s Gender Equality and Female Empowerment policy and led efforts to implement it in systems and programs.

Shahra Razavim is the Chief of the Research & Data Section at UN Women. Her research and publications have been on gender dimensions of development, with a focus on agrarian issues, social policy and the care economy. Since January 2013 when she joined UN Women, Shahra has overseen the research on two of UN Women’s flagship reports, Progress of the World’s Women 2015-2016 (Transforming the Economy, Realizing Rights) and the World Survey on the Role of Women in Development 2014 (Gender Equality and Sustainable Development).   Before joining UN Women, Shahra was a senior researcher at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) in Geneva. Her recent publications include Seen, Heard and Counted: Rethinking Care in a Development Context (special issue of Development and Change, 2011) and Gendered Impacts of Liberalization (Routledge, 2009). Shahra grew up in Iran, and obtained her Bachelors from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and her Masters and PhD (D.Phil.) from Oxford University.

James Heintz is Andrew Glyn Professor of Economics and Associate Director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  His current work focuses on employment policy; economics and human rights; informal and atypical employment; macroeconomic policies for sub-Saharan Africa; and the links between economic policies and distributive outcomes, including race and gender dimensions.

Samuel Otoo is Economic Adviser in the Macroeconomics and Fiscal Management Global Practice. A macro-economist by training, Samuel has extensive and diverse leadership experience with economic policy, public sector management and capacity development issues in Africa, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, South Asia and the Pacific. He has held managerial and senior technical positions across the operational and knowledge complexes of the World Bank, including Sector Manager for Economic Policy in the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia Regional Office, and Manager of the Global Governance Programs and Capacity Development and Results units of the World Bank Institute.

A light lunch will be provided.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 383 other followers