CIAT participates in global debate on gender issues

28 March, 2011 by (comments)

CIAT’s Participatory Research and Gender Analysis (PRGA) Initiative looks forward to working with the United Nations and other development agencies in positioning rural women and gender equality at the center of agricultural research, following the success of global discussions held as part of the 55th Meeting of the UN Commission of the Status of Women (CSW) held in New York recently.

Women in agriculture took center stage at a panel session of the CSW meeting named Gender, Science, and Technology in Agriculture, organized by IFAD, the FAO and the World Bank. CIAT’s PRGA Initiative Leader, Patricia Biermayr-Jenzano, spoke at the panel about CIAT’s work with rural women to develop newly adapted crop varieties through participatory plant breeding (PPB) techniques.

PPB that is gender responsive can be considered a “public good”, believes Ms Biermayr-Jenzano, as benefits range from empowering women farmers to finding ways to conserve biodiversity and adapt to climate change.

Other panel speakers included experts from a range of organizations working in rural development, such as the FAO, IFAD, the World Bank, FARA, and IITA. They discussed the major need to invest in agriculture, especially by targeting the following:

  • the development of new farming techniques and technologies that are female-friendly
  • women farmers’ access to extension services
  • the role of women in processing and marketing agricultural products
  • gender differences that have a positive impact on the livelihoods of rural women and men.

The IFAD/FAO/WB panel session and several others focusing on women in agriculture set the tone for the 56th CSW in 2012, which will explicitly focus on rural women.

The highlight of the UN conference was the launch of UN Women. Formally known as the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, UN Women combines four previous bodies of the UN.

“UN Women is an exciting initiative because it clusters all previous attempts to focus on women and gender equality within the UN system, and represents their most ambitious effort yet of accelerating actions for achieving gender equality,” commented Ms Biermayr-Jenzano.

Around the world, supporters of women’s rights have heralded its arrival and highly anticipate its contribution to achieving gender equality throughout the world.

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Filed Under: Gender, Inside CIAT