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Gender and innovation processes in Maize-Based Systems

Author: Petesch, P.
Author: Badstue, L.B.
Author: Williams, E.G.
Author: Farnworth, C.R.
Author: Umantseva, A.
Year: 2017
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10883/18390
Abstract: For several decades maize research for development has delivered valuable improved technologies to poor farmers. Some of these innovations significantly enhanced productivity, food security, and incomes, while others have had more limited impacts. Most of the innovations developed by the CGIAR and partners have been, and continue to be, driven by a focus on resolving important technical problems, such as low-yielding and susceptible varieties; widespread crop pests and diseases; debilitating abiotic stresses; and the productivity problems of poor quality seed. Evidence is growing that without appropriate incorporation of gender and other social considerations in agricultural research and development, otherwise technically superior innovations can be limited in their impact and in some cases may even lead to exacerbation of social inequalities (Cornwall & Edwards, 2010; Okali 2011, 2012; Kumar & Quisumbing, 2010). Deep-seated gender norms—or societal expectations governing women’s and men’s daily behaviors—contribute to important differences in the ability of women, men, and youth to learn about, try out, adapt, and benefit from new agricultural and natural resource management (NRM) technologies and practices. Such norms often limit women’s access to and control over productive resources (e.g., Quisumbing & Pandolfelli, 2010), which in turn further constrain their capacities to access new technologies and practices (e.g., Ragasa, 2012). Yet, how and why women in some contexts can effectively access and benefit from new technologies but not in others, remains poorly understood. This lack of understanding of the relationship between local contextual characteristics, including the normative environment for gender and wider social inclusion, and the uptake of agricultural technologies, restrains the capacity of agricultural research for development (AR4D) to design and scale out innovations that enable women and men in poor communities to engage and benefit. This report examines the gender dimensions of agricultural innovation and wider social change. The findings are based on the perspectives and experiences of approximately 1,600 women and men who reside in 27 villages of Ethiopia, Malawi, Mexico, Nigeria, Nepal, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe where maize is a key crop. This study is part of the wider GENNOVATE (Enabling Gender Equality in Agricultural and Environmental Innovation) research initiative conducted in 26 countries. The research methodology was designed to illuminate how gender norms and agency work together to shape access to, adoption of, and benefits from agricultural innovation. Gender norms underpin gender power relations and continue to privilege men’s agency, authority, and resource control. Yet, these norms are in flux around the world, and, in the set of research villages where the normative environment encourages both women’s and men’s agency and participation in agricultural innovation, the evidence points to more rapid and inclusive rural development on the ground.
Format: PDF
Language: English
Publisher: CIMMYT
Copyright: CIMMYT manages Intellectual Assets as International Public Goods. The user is free to download, print, store and share this work. In case you want to translate or create any other derivative work and share or distribute such translation/derivative work, please contact CIMMYT-Knowledge-Center@cgiar.org indicating the work you want to use and the kind of use you intend; CIMMYT will contact you with the suitable license for that purpose.
Type: Book
Place of Publication: Mexico
Pages: x, 79 pages
Agrovoc: AGRICULTURE
Agrovoc: GENDER
Agrovoc: MAIZE
Agrovoc: INNOVATION


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  • Socioeconomics
    Including topics such as farming systems, markets, impact & targeting, innovations, and GIS

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