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Promoting Gender-Equitable Agricultural Value Chains: Issues, Opportunities, and Next Steps

Abstract

This chapter reviews the growing body of work on reducing gender-based barriers to value chain development. It highlights key questions that are emerging within the gender and value chain community related to methodologies for promoting both greater gender equity and efficiency. The authors lay out the rationale and evidence for promoting gender equitable value chains focusing on business, social justice, and development goals. The chapter then reviews the terms and assumptions used in value chain approaches and provides evidence and examples of different gender and value chain approaches. The authors also look at gender issues in value chain performance and gender issues benefitting from value chain production, including employment and income and social capital and networking. This is followed by a review of current debates in the field of gender and value chain studies. The concluding section identifies new questions and challenges facing researchers and practitioners, for example, on chain selection, targeting of women, and achieving food security and improved nutrition in value chain development.

Keywords

  • Gender
  • Agriculture
  • Value chains
  • Markets
  • Employment

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Fig. 12.1

Notes

  1. 1.

    Even the comprehensive Gender in Agriculture Sourcebook published jointly by the World Bank, IFAD, and FAO in 2009 (World Bank et al. 2009) did not include a chapter on gender and value chains as a separate reference topic, and other recent contributions to setting research priorities for value chains continue to downplay or ignore the gender dimensions of the topic (see Gómez et al. 2011).

  2. 2.

    These assumptions are discussed in greater detail in Rubin et al. (2009).

  3. 3.

    See Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) at http://www.ethicaltrade.org. ETI works with both large- and small-scale sourcing operations in multiple sectors including horticulture. Their codes concentrate on wages, hours of work, health and safety, right to association, and rights of workers or small-scale suppliers.

  4. 4.

    See, for example, Wold (1997) and von Braun et al. (1994).

  5. 5.

    For a methodological summary, see Gammage et al. (2009).

  6. 6.

    For more information about these programs, see AWARD (http://awardfellowships.org/), USDA Borlaug Fellowship Programs (http://www.fas.usda.gov/programs/borlaug-fellowship-program), the USAID Borlaug Leadership Enhancement in Agriculture Program (http://borlaugleap.org/), and 10,000 Women initiative (http://www.goldmansachs.com/citizenship/10000women/index.html).

  7. 7.

    One of the more active communities of practice on gender and value chains is that of the Agri Pro Focus Learning Network (http://genderinvaluechains.ning.com/), which links practitioners, researchers, and others in a global network. The website provides resources on many aspect of integrating better attention to gender into agricultural value chains.

  8. 8.

    See International Potato Center (n.d.), “Sweetpotato for profit and health initiative” http://sweetpotatoknowledge.org/sweetpotato-introduction/overviewsweetpotato-for-profit-and-health-initiative.

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Acknowledgments

The chapter draws heavily on research conducted under the USAID-funded project, “Greater Access to Trade Expansion,” implemented by Development and Training Services, Inc., under the Women in Development IQC Contract No. GEW-I-00-02-00018-00, Task Order No. 02, but it does not necessarily express the views of USAID. The authors thank several organizations for the opportunity to present and get useful feedback from participants at workshops that they sponsored on gender and value chain development: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (2010), the International Center for Research on Women with the International Livestock Research Institute (2011), and Oxfam International (2011).

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Rubin, D., Manfre, C. (2014). Promoting Gender-Equitable Agricultural Value Chains: Issues, Opportunities, and Next Steps. In: Quisumbing, A., Meinzen-Dick, R., Raney, T., Croppenstedt, A., Behrman, J., Peterman, A. (eds) Gender in Agriculture. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-8616-4_12

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