This October, the Feed the Future Advancing Women’s Empowerment Program is proud be working with Agrilinks to raise awareness of gender dimensions in agriculture, with a special emphasis on gender-based violence prevention and response. This post kicks off the month, which will feature a range of content and events from people and organizations working at the intersection of gender equality and agriculture. 

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Gender influences which crops are grown, which animals are raised, and which technologies are used. It influences how households earn a livelihood and manage risk, what children eat and how they are cared for. In homes, fields, factories, marketplaces, and communities, gender influences how decisions are made.

This October, Agrilinks is diving into gender dimensions in agricultural and food systems. We’re excited about the advances that have been made in recent years in gender-responsive programming within Feed the Future and the greater development community and look forward to a rich exchange on success and challenges in implementation.

One of the themes we’ll focus on is gender-based violence (GBV) in the agriculture sector. Throughout the month, we’ll raise awareness about the impacts of GBV in agricultural systems, share lessons about preventing and responding to GBV, and explore ways programs can identify and mitigate GBV. Although GBV’s different forms – including physical, psychological, economic, sexual, harassment, and controlling behaviors – affects both women and men, women are at higher risk of experiencing GBV and are more vulnerable to its impacts. GBV can adversely affect a woman’s participation in agricultural systems in a variety of ways – her ability to move freely, access markets, negotiate deals and whether to seek or keep employment. It affects her decisions over how to spend money, what to cultivate, and how big to grow a farm or business. GBV can also affect agribusinesses productivity. Development donors and the private sector are taking notice of the presence of GBV where they work and its human and economic costs.

To kick off the month, we’d like to share some tools and resources:

  • GFSS Technical Guidance: Advancing Gender Equality and Female Empowerment frames Feed the Future’s overall approach to gender equality and female empowerment in relation to the Global Food Security Strategy. It includes principles and resources for program design and implementation.
  • The project-level Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (or pro-WEAI) is being developed as an adaption of the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) for agricultural development projects to assess aspects of women’s empowerment and track their changes in a project setting. It includes a component on men’s and women’s attitudes around domestic violence. This blog highlights women’s experiences of GBV, how women change their actions and decisions, and preliminary changes associated with projects, all drawn from preliminary pro-WEAI qualitative data.
  • An overview of GBV in agribusiness summarizes factors associated with women experiencing GBV in agribusiness and notes insufficient data on the problem.
  • USAID’s  Toolkit for Integration of GBV Prevention & Response into Economic Growth Projects includes strategies and indicators for projects to mitigate GBV and expand women’s participation in agricultural value chains.

We hope you’ll join the conversation on gender this month, and we invite you to share your learning on Agrilinks!

Photo by Farjana Ferdousi, Nobo Jatra Project, Bangladesh