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RTB Gender Strategy

RTB is committed to ensuring that knowledge, capacity building, technology and market opportunities, are made equally available to women and men. Currently, evaluations have shown that men and women are not benefiting equally from RTB technologies. Thus in order to meet gender equitable outcomes and targets, RTB has developed a gender strategy with  two main objectives 1) to mainstream gender in all technical areas with  integrated gender research  2) to undertake strategic gender research to build a body of knowledge on gender roles and their contribution to agri-food system innovation for RTB crops.

In preparation for RTB Phase II, the gender strategy will be updated and operationalized considering lessons learnt from RTB Phase I and in alignment with the new RTB structure based on flagship projects (FPs). Flagship Project 5 (FP5)  includes a dedicated cluster on gender equitable development and youth employment that will provide learning and support for all FPs to contribute to achieving gender responsive outcomes – gender equitable control of productive assets and resources and improved capacity of women and young people to participate in decision-making.

Integrated gender research

The purpose of gender integration is to consider gender norms and cultural practices when designing and implementing technical research. This will improve the efficacy of our work and also address gender based inequalities. In RTB, this means integrating a gender dimension into all flagships and specific resources will be set aside for this. Gender integration research includes: methodological aspects of collection and use of relevant sex-disaggregated information, analysis of gender-related constraints and opportunities, studies of the impact of research and development on gender equality outcomes.

One of the key areas of focus for gender integrated research is with breeders in identifying and taking into consideration gender differences in trait preferences with work planned, for example on banana breeding in Tanzania, and on cassava to inform genomics assisted breeding in Nigeria and Uganda.

Strategic gender research

Strategic gender research in RTB is housed in FP5, and focuses on gender roles, norms and agency, rather than on technical issues. Strategic gender research is expected to guide and strengthen integrated gender research in the other flagships.

Examples of research questions and areas of focus of strategic gender research are:

  • How do gender norms and agency advance or impede the capacity to innovate and to adopt technology in agriculture and NRM across different contexts?
  • How do new agricultural technologies or practices affect gender norms and agency across different contexts? Under what conditions can they do harm to women? And how are gender norms and women’s and men’s agency changing, and under what conditions do these changes catalyze innovation and lead to desired development outcomes? What contextual factors influence this relationship?
  • Gender roles and dimensions of inequality in RTB seed systems.
  • Intra-household resource use and decision-making for equity and innovation in different RTB crop constellations.
  • Gender implications of agro-industrialization and gender dimensions in access to RTB based agro enterprises in differently in different regions and countries.

To answer these questions, RTB is collaborating with other CGIAR Research Programs in the CGIAR global study on Enabling Gender Equality in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (GENNOVATE) and has a total of 15 case-studies in our target countries.

Questions to guide your feedback:

  1. What do you consider are the most important and relevant elements in the RTB gender strategy?
  2. Which elements do you think need strengthening?
  3. How could your organization improve its collaboration with RTB for gender mainstreaming?

Please leave your feedback as a comment below, specifying the question number you are responding to. Any additional comments are welcome too.

7 thoughts on “Gender Strategy

  1. Bhawana

    Thanks Hale for flagging up a very important point. Yes in the gender impact pathway both strategic and integrated gender research need to intertwine at one point to contribute towards the achievement of gender sub-IDOs and IDO. I think that both strategic and integrated research have potential to generate gender transformative outcomes. It actually depends on the research approaches and methods.

  2. Bhawana

    Thank you Diego. I agree with you that there is no one solution. We will try to take this suggestion on board.

  3. Graham Thiele

    Hi Hale, thanks for these great comments. Thats an excellent point about having strategic and integrated gender research meet in the middle. Perhaps thats the milestone we should be using to judge success of our gender strategy. For certain meeting in the middle will mean bringing the agricultural scientists with us in the journey so this kind of course with a team rather than individuals is especially welcome.

  4. Diego Naziri

    Q2: it would be important to identify the right balance between gender adaptive and gender transformative approaches taking into account the different social contexts RTB operates in. There is no one-fits-all solution

  5. Chiedozie Egesi

    Integrating gender research into plant breeding is an essential part of any variety development if such crop is expected to be taken up by many people. The studies being conducted in Nigeria and Uganda for cassava has a lot to do properly define those gender -disaggregated traits and calibrate them in a manner that breeders would not find too cumbersome as they get included in the selection indices for varietal selection. This should form a veritable part of participatory variety selection scheme for RTB crops. I will be glad to further engage with the RTB program in defining such traits.

    1. Bhawana

      Thanks Chiedozie. Yes we are looking forward for more interactions with you and your team.
      Indeed IITA-RTB gender team worked closely with Cornell University and the National Roots Crops Research Institute in the NEXTGEN Cassava project and this has helped social and biophysical scientists to understand gender concepts in cassava-producing communities and identify sex-differentiated trait preferences of cassava varieties. Scientists are currently engaging in research to transform these local descriptions of trait preferences into standardized measurable units. Linking farmers’ preferences and trait descriptions can help identify genomic markers for these traits for use in genomic selection.


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