Beyond the double gender gap in science and agriculture: Is there space for feminist-inspired transformation within AWARD?
3Research and Evaluation Specialist, MelodyM Consulting
The existence of a structural gender gap in agriculture is commonly recognized. Solutions for overcoming this are often argued to bring about greater gender equality and increased agricultural production. Programs such as AWARD place gender equality high on their agenda, as they attempt to reduce the gap by supporting the career development of women in agricultural science research fields, while also taking stand on current international development narratives on the urgency to invest in agricultural research. Using ecofeminist theories, this paper contends that while such programs’ approach to overcoming the gaps in agriculture and science is seemingly focused on women’s empowerment, the risk exists that it could result in the reinforcement of an already dominant knowledge, constructed over centuries of inequality. A proposal is formulated to allow for the emergence and recognition of gender epistemological needs, and for feminist epistemological discourses to challenge the ethical premises, research priorities, approach, and methods of current internationally funded agricultural research for development.Keywords: Feminism, ecofeminism, gender needs, gender in agriculture, epistemology