Flagship 6: Cross-cutting Gender Research and Coordination

Progress toward gender equity enhances inclusion and promotes effective development. Gender bias contributes to underlying causes of all of the grand challenges. Among these, the work of Flagship 6 most directly addresses competition for land and overdrawn water supplies (through addressing gender bias in control of and access to these resources); climate change (through enhancing men’s and women’s understanding of its effects, and ability to adapt); nutritious and healthy diets (through women’s roles in production for home consumption and dietary choices); and employment opportunities (especially for young women seeking to manage farms and eager for rural non-farm employment).

Selectivity and focus of the work in Flagship 6 is informed by a growing body of empirical evidence on gender and agriculture summarized below:

  • Although women comprise a significant fraction of the workforce in the agricultural sector, their productivity remains low due to their lack of control over assets and labor (O’Sullivan et al. 2014).
  • If inequality in control over resources can be overcome, women farm as productively as men (Quisumbing 1996). Other authors (Aguilar et al. 2015; Backiny-Yetna and McGee 2015; Kilic et al. 2015; Oseni et al. 2015; Slavchevska 2015) find, on the other hand, that women receive lower returns to land and other inputs even when they have access to these resources.
  • Increasing the amount of production and income under control of women improves food security more than similar increases in production and income controlled by men.
  • Involving women as well as men in resource management improves outcomes for sustainability, due to different interests and complementary skills of women and men (Agarwal 2010; Pandolfelli, Meinzen-Dick and Dohrn 2008).
  • Gender-based barriers to women’s participation in formal and informal markets, particularly women’s overall lack of integration in commercial agriculture, reduce women’s ability to earn and control incomes within their households, and deny them the opportunity to realize returns to investment in their human capital.
  • Involvement of women in policy-making processes, from the local to the national level, is associated with public expenditure allocations that favor investments in social infrastructure, such as water supply and schools (Chattophadyay and Duflo 2004).
  • Analysis of the findings of early applications of the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) in 13 countries reveals that reported constraints are greatest in the areas of decision making about credit, time allocation and excessive workloads, and low membership in groups, although there are significant variations across contexts (Malapit et al. 2014).

The work of Flagship 6 builds on these empirical findings, and particularly the conflicting findings of gender and productivity. Interventions to increase women’s empowerment constitute a second area of emphasis. A third area of focus is the impact of rural transformation on women of all ages.

See PIM Proposal for Phase 2 (2017-2022) for more information.

Research clusters

Geographic focus

Cluster 6.1inter alia Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Malawi, Myanmar, Nigeria, Senegal, and Uganda. Cluster 6.2: global.

Flagship leadership team

Cheryl Doss (Oxford University)
Flagship 6 leader

Katrina Kosec (IFPRI)
Cluster 6.1 leader

Rhiannon Pyburn (KIT)
Gender Platform coordinator

Flagship 6 impact pathways

Flagship 6 updates