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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.

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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.

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Looking back to move forward: Celebrating 20 years of gender research at IFPRI

Originally posted at https://www.ifpri.org/blog/looking-back-move-forward
JULY 1, 2015

My 20th anniversary of working at IFPRI coincides with the 20th anniversary of the UN World Conference on Women in Beijing, where then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton proudly proclaimed that women’s rights are human rights. I had been hired to lead IFPRI’s research program on gender and intrahousehold issues a few months before the conference, and the trip to Beijing was my first overseas trip for the Institute. The atmosphere there was both festive and chaotic. Women (and men) from all over the world were at the official UN conference as well as at the NGO conference in Huairou; these sites were deliberately a fair distance from each other, to keep the more vocal NGOs out of the sedate UN-style discussions. I remember shuttling from one site to the other in rickety buses without air conditioning alongside the other participants—such minor inconveniences did not dampen our spirits at all!

My IFPRI colleagues and I produced a Food Policy Report for Beijing, “Women: The Key to Food Security,” in which we summarized the empirical evidence on women’s roles as producers, income earners, and caregivers—in their capacity as guardians of household food and nutrition security. Before the 1990s, quantitative evidence on women’s role in food security was scarce. There were many anthropological studies, but these were mostly small ethnographic studies and could not be generalized across different countries and contexts. For the first time, we were able to present numbers drawn from empirical studies based on large data sets, from a variety of contexts and cultures. These results demonstrated that women’s lower access to productive inputs was responsible for their lower yields relative to men, suggesting inefficiencies in resource allocation within the household, that women’s incomes tended to be spent on child health and nutrition, and that women’s time was important for the well-being of families as well as their own.

The audience of policymakers and NGO representatives in Beijing was hungry for this type of research.  It was clear that there was a demand for evidence-based policymaking on gender. But it was still difficult to convince policymakers that there were gains to achieving gender equality. These hard-nosed decisionmakers were not convinced that women’s empowerment was an end in itself; we had to find the numbers to show that empowering women also made good economic sense. A major challenge was that the data to test many hypotheses did not yet exist at the level of disaggregation that we needed—most data were collected at the household level, and did not distinguish between resources controlled by men and women.

The evidence gap convinced us to undertake an ambitious research program in the 1990s when we gathered new data in four focus countries—Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Guatemala, and South Africa—to test models of household decisionmaking. We wanted to understand better how men and women made decisions and allocated resources within households across very different cultures and contexts. To do this, we designed questionnaire modules that looked at the assets that men and women brought to marriage.  We found out that the bargaining power of men and women at the time of marriage—which reflected the physical and human assets each possessed as well as external policy interventions—also affected how men and women allocated resources within marriage. This had important implications for household and individual well-being. Although these studies were observational (not based on experimental evidence), they showed that resources controlled by women tended to be correlated with better educational, health, and nutrition of children.

The results from these studies influenced the design of Mexico’s PROGRESA, the forerunner ofOportunidades, a nationwide conditional cash transfer (CCT) program that, for the first time, transferred cash directly to the mother, rather than to the “household.” The impact evaluation of PROGRESA, conducted by IFPRI, was also a forerunner of impact evaluations using randomized controlled trials. The success of Mexico’s program influenced the design of CCTs worldwide. One important lesson in the implementation of CCTs, however, was that designs could not be adopted wholesale without adaptation to local conditions, because gender norms are very context- and culture-specific. Another important lesson was that programs should not consider women alone, but women in relation to men and other members of the household and community. In fact, the danger of targeting programs only to women was not only the potential backlash from men but also the increased demands on her own time.

Assets emerged as an important factor that not only affected the bargaining power of men and women, but also the well-being of households over time. Our realization that men’s and women’s property rights over assets mattered, and that these rights could be influenced by both policy and agricultural development programming, led to a new research program investigating how agricultural development programs can affect the gender asset gap. Our work on intrahousehold decisionmaking and assets then led to work developing measures of women’s empowerment, such as the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), which has now been implemented in 19 Feed the Future countries and is being adopted by other development organizations throughout the world.

Policy, research, and practice on gender in food security has evolved greatly since the 1990s. Gender equality and women’s empowerment became enshrined in the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. Measures of women’s empowerment are becoming part of projects’ monitoring and evaluation system.  NGOs are no longer considered second-class citizens in development programming; indeed they have taken the lead in implementing innovative programs at scale to empower women. Most importantly, our ideas have moved on from women alone as being the “key to food security” to looking at gender dynamics—relationships between women and men—and involving both women and men as partners in improving food security and the well-being of their households and communities.

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Event: Beijing+20: Gender, Power, and Decision-Making

The Gender and Inclusive Development Workgroup Presents:

Beijing+20: Gender, Power and Decision-MakingTuesday, February 24, 2015
12:30 – 2:00 PM
National Democratic Institute
455 Massachusetts Ave NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DCOn February 24, the SID GID Beijing+20 discussion series continues with a conversation on Point G: “Women in Power and Decision-Making,” co-hosted with the National Democratic Institute and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. The discussion will begin with an exploration of progress made since 1995 toward women’s equal and active participation in power structures and decision-making, as well as their capacity to participate in decision-making and leadership.

Panelists will comment on the best practices that have evolved and moved women forward in the political sphere since 1995, as well as on emerging issues and future opportunities. The frameworks of international development work are shifting and being reshaped; these frameworks, like the Sustainable Development Goals, offer new opportunities for women in politics. The panel will explore how current and proven strategies can be built upon and carried forward, and how a more integrated, inclusive approach to democracy development might provide greater opportunity to achieving sustainable development overall.

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News: Commission on the Status of Women

“From 1-12 March 2010, the Commission on the Status of Women undertook a fifteen-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly.   Emphasis was placed on the sharing of experiences and good practices, with a view to overcoming remaining obstacles and new challenges, including those related to the Millennium Development Goals.  Member States, representatives of non-governmental organizations and of UN entities participated in the session.  A series of parallel events provided additional opportunities for information exchange and networking.”

For more information and archived video webcasts of event presentations