A training program on Researching Gender and Agriculture is being held in Nairobi over 2016. Applications are due at the end of February. Participants are responsible for all costs. See the flyer for more information: Researching Gender and Agriculture pdf
Isabel Lambrecht, Associate Research Fellow at IFPRI’s office in Ghana, writes about her choice to investigate gender in agricultural technology adoption. In this blogpost for Economics that Matters, she shares some surprises from what she has learned asking the question central to her dissertation, do we get higher uptake of agricultural technologies if agricultural extension programs work with only female farmers from a household, only male farmers, or both spouses jointly? Read the post here.
WASHINGTON, October 13, 2015–The World Bank Group and nonprofit Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI) today announced an open call for funding proposals for work aimed at preventing gender-based violence in low- and middle-income countries.
SVRI and the World Bank Group will provide grants of up to US$150,000 for innovations to prevent gender-based violence (GBV), a severe and neglected problem affecting more than one in three women worldwide and a major challenge for global development.
Applications must be submitted online here by December 9, 2015.
The following blog by IFPRI gender experts Sophie Theis, Agnes Quisumbing, and Ruth Meinzen-Dick is the second 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. This blog originally appeared on IFPRI.org.
To commemorate Beijing+20, we are taking 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.
This blogpost, part two in a four-part series on IFPRI gender research in the past 20 years, shares key takeaways from research on themes of:
- closing gender gaps in agricultural productivity
- access, control, and ownership of assets
- land rights
- legal institutions and governance
Tune in to the next post in the blog series to read highlights from IFPRI gender research related to social capital, sustainability, and health. See full list of publications (PDF 94K). Then join us on October 14th for anIFPRI policy seminar celebrating Beijing+20.
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.
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.
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.