Accepted Paper:

Anthropological perspectives on gendered and non-gendered interventions and their effects on food security  


Anita Spring (University of Florida)

Paper Short Abstract:

30 years of non-gendered research barely remediate food security, while 10 years of gendered work have done so. Gendered interventions ameliorate constraints and empower women and help alleviate poverty and hunger. Examples from Africa, Asia, and Latin America are given.

Paper long abstract:

Anthropological data on non-gendered research and projects over the last thirty years show they barely remediated food security problems, while gendered work in the past decade showed improved poverty and hunger alleviation. Gendered research/interventions help ameliorate constraints to women's participation in remunerative productive activity which empower women and help alleviate poverty and hunger. Among examples from Africa, Asia, and Latin America, is Northern Ghana an initially non-gendered intervention that failed when it introduced conservation agriculture techniques (no tillage with mulch and cover crops) to women and land-owner men. Both sexes became research-trial cooperators. The headman and husbands gave women land, resulting in increased yields and decreased work hours using the new techniques. However, the next year the women dropped out when the men took the land back for their own production. Subsequent remediation by project staff employed gender-sensitive programming using local gendered norms to work with women's farmer organizations. Some women became adopters on family land; others purchased land outright using revenues from increased yieldsall leading to household and community food security. Gender-sensitive strategies and leadership development were keys to turn-around. In Cambodia, both sexes became adopters increasing yields and sales; some women purchased land and farm machinery, others became leaders in women's organizations. Gendered considerations expand women's independent and joint domains of control and benefits, taking different assets, needs, preferences, goals, and priorities of men and women into account, and leading to increased food security.

Panel P081
Sustainably solving the causes and consequences of the global food crisis: new roles, multi-decade challenges and expanded opportunities for anthropologists to provide significant aid