GFAR blog

Doubling the gender and youth research agenda

Young Farmer in Sri Lanka.
Young Farmer in Sri Lanka.

“Double the agenda!”. With these emphatic words Hillbur Ylva, Deputy Director of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), described how she would like to see research on gender and youth issues in agricultural development evolve in the next five years.

In the past decade, we have witnessed increasing recognition of the importance of considering gender and youth in agricultural research. Indeed, recognising the differentiated roles, needs, challenges, and preferences that different social divides have across the different stages of the value chain has proven fundamental to ensuring the success and sustainability of any given agricultural development project.

However, mainstreaming gender in agricultural programs has not always been as successful as we may think. At times, research, policies and development projects have oversimplified gender issues, categorising them as “women’s issues”  and treating men and women as homogeneous categories of people. This oversimplification has also generally de-emphasized the category of “youth”, and has not paid enough attention to the special needs that the different types of young men and women farmers have in their specific rural contexts.

Fortunately, the future is starting to look brighter. During the GCARD3, we have seen  strong youth representation in all themes and sections, giving youth the opportunity to be part of all the issues being discussed. With this crucial integration of youth, we are ensuring that they have a voice in the process of shaping the future of agricultural research in the coming years.

It is also encouraging to know that, as Hillbur shared with us, in all proposals of the second phase of the CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) there has been an emphasis on how they are going to address gender and youth issues, by mainstreaming these categories into their research programs.

Doubling the agenda might sound like a bit of an exaggeration, but I heartily believe that it’s what needs to be done in order to ensure that women and youth are no longer left behind.

Listen to the entire interview in our podcast.

Watch other GCARD3 participants discuss their views on the future of gender and youth in the research agenda:

Special thanks to Hillbur Ylva, for making time to share with us her views on the future of gender and youth in the research agenda.

Blogpost, podcast, video and photo by Mariola Acosta, #GCARD3 Social Reporter, Youth Delegate at the GCARD3, Spanish YPARD Representative and PhD Research Fellow at IITA and Wageningen University. – acfra.mariola(at)

This post is part of the live coverage during the #GCARD3 Global Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, 5-8 April 2016. This post is written by one of our social reporters, and represents the author’s views only.

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