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IWD 2021: “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”

IRRI puts a spotlight on the central role of women in rice-based agri-food systems and the importance of creating an enabling environment so they can lead and make a difference in their households and communities.

Together with CGIAR, we are dedicated to working for and with women, knowing that their full and active participation spells the sustainability of agri-food systems amidst large and sweeping challenges such as COVID-19 and climate change.

This page features IRRI’s recent work on gender as well as our aspirations and strategies to become a more gender-inclusive research institution. 

The potential for rice sector development in Sub-Saharan Africa and opportunities for women and youth

In this op-ed, IRRI Regional Representative for Africa Abdelbagi Ismail stresses that serious policy reforms and investments are needed to support and strengthen the role of women and youth in both production and agri-business development. These will also help shield them against overexploitation by establishing entrepreneurship with built-in services provision, and effective value chains that link them to input/output markets.

How heavy is the sky? Addressing the inequity and challenges of women in agri-food systems

IRRI's Lead for Gender and Livelihoods Ranjitha Puskur provides a sobering account on why "women holding up half the sky" is actually half the story. On International Women's Day, we should remember to provide concrete solutions to real challenges women face in the agriculture sector, more than celebrating another special day about them.

Why empowering women in agriculture is essential to global food security

IRRI Director General Jean Balie stresses that it should not take a catastrophic event such as this pandemic to change the rules as well as mindsets that will make agriculture an even playing field for all genders. Empowering rural women does not diminish the roles and responsibilities of men but enhances the productivity of farms, particularly smallholder farms.

Economic empowerment of women in Rakhine

UN Women and IRRI engaged with women in Rakhine, one of Myanmar’s poorest and conflict-prone regions, to enhance their technical and entrepreneurial skills aimed at empowering them and securing their livelihoods.

With the wind beneath our wings, we soar together and higher

IRRI’s work with the Farmer Producer Company has ushered in a new era of farming practices with tangible socio-economic benefits and more, especially for the women farmers. The women are now empowered and brimming with confidence having acquired leadership skills and farming-related knowledge.

RiceWorld Virtual Engagement Module

IRRI’s RiceWorld Virtual Engagement Module aims to help young people understand how an international research organization contributes to narrowing the gender inequalities in rice farming and in rice science research, despite the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Data collection tools to support gender responsive breeding

Collecting and understanding gender-differentiated trait preferences of various actors is critical to inform demand-led breeding priorities and investment decisions. These data collection tools are designed to help IRRI scientists and breeders become more gender-responsive in their research activities.

On climate change’s fury road: Equipping women to steer towards resilient agricultural systems and livelihoods

Rural women are the lifeline of Bangladeshi agriculture. Creating more sustainable opportunities for them in the agri-food systems means creating an enabling environment where they can achieve their full potential.