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Launch of CGIAR Gender Platform highlighted at African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF)

07 September, Rwanda -- Women’s preferences, realities, and ambitions have rarely been at the forefront of agriculture conversations, until recent years. The CGIAR Gender Platform, launched at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) on 07 September, aims to take gender conversations even further and help women play a central role in agriculture research for development in Africa.

Sustainable and productive food systems are hinged on gender equality, which requires changing norms and policies that favor one gender over the other, and ensuring that women have the same opportunities and benefits from agriculture, natural resources, and food production. The CGIAR Gender Platform will be a collaborative venue for CGIAR centers to build linkages and partnerships for CGIAR’s gender agenda in transforming African food systems.

Nicoline de Haan, CGIAR Gender Platform Director, shared the importance of methods, evidence, and alliances in achieving progress on gender. According to her, methods include robust research, comparable data, and cutting edge science, while evidence involves “making the invisible visible” through impact and addressing data and knowledge gaps.

During the launch, Markus Ihalainen, Senior Research Officer and Gender and Social Inclusion Co-Coordinator, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), shared, “The gender platform will help us to identify and address critical knowledge gaps and leverage each others’ comparative advantages, while positioning CGIAR as an authoritative body that draws on decades of gender research to influence more equitable food systems.”

Another speaker, Stephen Potter, Director of Agriculture and Food Systems and CGIAR Council Member, Global Affairs Canada, said, "Funders of CGIAR are 100% behind the gender research agenda and we foresee that funding will flow to the platform & other gender programs.”

One of IRRI’s mandates is to create gender impact at scale. It aims to contribute to the gender platform through its knowledge and experience in gender issues across rice-based food systems, and by initiating people-centered activities that increase access to knowledge and services to improve marginalized farmers and laborer’s effectiveness. Collaboration, especially with national agriculture partners, is key to driving these into action. 

According to Dr. Ranjitha Puskur, Scientist II - Gender Research, IRRI, for gender research to be truly successful, it must prioritize transdisciplinary and solution-oriented research, generating evidence of practical value. Going forward, Dr. Puskur underlines the importance of strong capacities, frameworks, approaches and tools in underpinning the efforts of the CGIAR Gender Platform towards more sustainable and resilient agri-food systems.