Innovation Lab addresses agricultural gender inequality in Cambodia through leadership, education and mechanization. (Photo credit: Molly Webb, SIIL)
Researchers with USAID’s Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification (SIIL) take a holistic approach to their work, looking at the ways in which their innovations affect all aspects of a farmer’s life. For SIIL investigators, gender dynamics are a constant issue of importance.
“The one thing we know is that so much is changing for women around the world. We want them to know enough so that they can respond to that change in positive and productive ways,” said sociologist Cornelia Flora, Emeritus Professor at Iowa State University, research professor at Kansas State University and member of the SIIL’s External Advisory Board.
In Cambodia, for example, gender equality is a national priority, but problems still persist.
“Male family members are moving away from villages into cities or going to other neighboring countries to find employment,” said Vara Prasad, director of the SIIL. “But the families still have to continue farming because they have the land and they can’t waste that, so those who are left must take over the farm. Those individuals are primarily women.” Continue reading “Sustainable Intensification Promotes Inclusive Farming Practices”
Women constitute half of Bangladesh’s 160 million human resources. About two-thirds (53 million) of them live in rural areas and eke out livelihoods from agriculture. More than half of the country’s agricultural labor force are women. They are involved in all agricultural activities, although the most common activities are postharvest operations, homestead production and livestock and poultry raising.
With growing rural outmigration, women’s role in agriculture is increasing. They contribute significantly to rural economy, and their empowerment is crucial to minimizing poverty and hunger.
Compared to men, women farmers face many obstacles. Empowering women farmers requires an understanding of their constraints and implementing targeted interventions for addressing these restrictions. These include land ownership and rights, access to improved varieties and technologies, extension and credit services, inputs such as seeds and fertilizers, farm machines and mechanization services, and knowledge and information. They also have limited decision-making power and participation in economic opportunities. These obstacles not only limit their productivity but also prevent women from achieving their full potential. As a result, women suffer more from poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition. Continue reading “Empowering Women Farmers in the Polder Communities of Bangladesh”