Parallel sessions

Covering six broad themes over five sessions, the parallel sessions covered, between them, 101 separate talks, panels, and roundtables over the three days of the conference.

The abstracts and, where supplied, the papers for these sessions are supplied here for the general public and conference participants.

Select a theme to find the list of sessions presented under that theme.

Gender and Equity for Nutritious and Healthy Food Systems

Large disparities in nutrition and health outcomes exist between different social groups, and resources and processes related to these outcomes are often distributed inequitably.  These differences intersect with gender, in some cases compounding gender differences, and in others, offsetting them. Recognizing these inequities, this theme explores the role of gender and other social categories such as age, caste, class, ethnicity, race, and religion, among others, that create differences in health and nutrition outcomes and processes that are unnecessary, avoidable, unfair, and unjust.  

Gender, Agricultural Productivity and Rural Transformation

This theme will explore the relationships among gender, agricultural productivity, and rural transformation.  Rural transformation may be occurring due to outmigration of particular demographic groups,  improved infrastructure, increased access to public services, and new opportunities both in the agricultural and nonagricultural sectors.   Gender relations both influence these processes of rural transformation and are changed by them.  Women may be empowered by taking over new roles when men migrate out or may be burdened by additional responsibilities with limited access to resources.   

Cultivating Equality: Bringing Evidence from the Field to Close the Agricultural Gender Gap

This theme will draw attention to programs, projects and strategies that have successfully integrated gender into design and implementation and lessons learned for future practice. The theme will explore programming insights focused on: effective ways to catalyse social and behavioural change for both agricultural and gender equality and social outcomes; gender–sensitive evaluation and impact assessment systems for continuous program improvement; and gender transformative approaches to the adoption of innovative technologies.

Men, Masculinity and Changing Rural Economies

This theme will examine how men are being affected by changes in rural economies and societies. It is increasingly being recognised that focussing only on women, however understandable, is insufficient to overturn the norms that entrench gender inequality. In the context of agriculture, for example, divisions of labour and the control of income from cash crops have usually privileged men at the expense of women, but changes in rural economies are having a profound impact on both men’s and women’s lives. Increasing reliance on cash crops, the movement of men for work and efforts to transform conjugal relations are seeing changes in men’s roles in rural communities. Some scholars even argue that such changes have caused a ‘crisis of masculinity,’ which can result in pernicious forms of masculinity.

This theme will examine specific changes occurring in the agricultural context and how men and especially their beliefs about how to be a man are being affected. It will also examine gender programming and interventions that focus solely on men or on men in households or families.

Labour and Production Relations

Women and men inhabit ‘webs of relationships’ in farming and allied activities in rural areas, relationships that permit them to live and make a livelihood, to produce, and to reproduce. These gendered relations are not always voluntary, and can be substantially influenced by external factors. In turn, women and men, as they go about farming, significantly co-produce labour and production relations.
Many of these are shifting, inexorably, rapidly and sometimes fundamentally, in the contemporary world. As more men move out of rural areas in contemporary times, and more women must take greater roles in agriculture within various resource constraints, are they transforming the ways in which production has been carried out conventionally, while transforming themselves? One is compelled to ask: what are the directions of these gendered changes? How are labour and production in farming altering? What factors are driving these changes? Who is benefitting and in what ways? What are the implications of these dynamics?

This thematic session examines some aspects of these (and other) questions thrown up by the now radically recreated gendered rural and agricultural landscapes, and the resultant complex challenges they pose to researchers, development scholars and practitioners and policy-makers.

Gender Integration in Agri-food Systems Research Development

While agri-food systems research is gaining ground, challenges remain when it comes to effectively integrating gender. Gender integration in agricultural research to-date has tended to focus on the production domain with relatively scant knowledge and systematic learning vis a vis integrating gender within a broader agri-food system perspective. Taking a systems perspective spotlights trade-offs, interconnectedness, and dependencies within the chain: interdisciplinarity becomes central.

This conference theme focusses on what effective gender integration means: it will surface key challenges as well as state-of-the-art learning regarding strategies, methods, and tools for integrating gender in agri-food systems research. This includes considering the implications of rapidly transforming agri-food systems and of development investments in gender equality/equity on gender gaps and opportunities, as well as what those mean for food security, health and nutrition, and livelihoods of vulnerable groups.

Key goals are: to examine the role of intersectionalities in determining opportunities available in the agri-food systems;  and, to unravel and measure economic and social impacts to inform research priority setting and investment decisions. We welcomed papers that captured the processes of gender integration and related learning, in addition to examples of gender-integrated agri-food systems research. This exchange is anticipated to highlight the opportunities and challenges gender and social science researchers face in the agri-food system domain, and explore ways to achieve more effective gender integration.