Weaving gender into roots, tubers and bananas

25+ people – men and women in equal numbers – met in Montpellier around the RTB work program to discuss gender, a basic component, necessary to be included in RTB impact pathways.
Weaving gender into roots, tubers and bananasMeeting in Montpellier around the RTB work program to discuss gender

(14 December 2012) Put social scientists, breeders and geneticists in a meeting room to discuss gender and you are highly likely to hear interesting talk. The promise materialized as 25+ people – men and women in equal numbers – met in Montpellier around the RTB work program. While the CGIAR Consortium has made it compulsory for research programs to adopt a gender strategy, in the case of RTB it was obvious from the beginning that gender was to be a basic component. A first version of the strategy was drafted in 2010, but a revision became necessary to include gender in RTB impact pathways. But what is gender really? It goes beyond helping women: it is about considering how both men and women – and potential impacts on both sexes – should be equally considered when making analyses, decisions and recommendations. It can start with the collection of data in the field, by sending mixed teams to make sure both sexes have an equal voice. “Consider the cultural context you are operating in”, insisted the anthropologists in the room. Some definitions helped confirm that RTB wants to go beyond gender-responsive activities – i.e. helping women – to a gender-transformative agenda that aims at gender equality.

What do we have so far?

A review of scientific literature published in the four participating centers showed that the gender component could be found –  but in a scattered way. Could it be that we are not always aware we are doing gender work?
Weaving gender into roots, tubers and bananas
“Scientifically speaking, RTB is a particularly interesting program because it includes synergistic research across crops”, said Anne-Marie Izac from the CGIAR Consortium. Adding gender will only make it more relevant and compelling.