Understanding Gender in CIMMYT Maize Research


This study examined the existing knowledge and experience of CGIAR Research Programme (CRP) MAIZE on the integration of gender concerns in maize research. Led by CIMMYT, CRP MAIZE focuses on increasing maize production for the 900 million poor consumers for whom maize is a staple food in Africa, South Asia and Latin America.

To mark International Rural Women’s Day 2019, CIMMYT and KIT Royal Tropical Institute are launching a new publication to assist scientists and project managers to better integrate gender into their agricultural research. Stay tuned!

Building on case studies from Zimbabwe, Bangladesh & Nepal

The new resource is the product of a long-term collaborative effort between KIT and CIMMYT to better understand the different approaches to gender integration in wheat and maize research.

Following a series of gender audits in 2013, KIT conducted a study on CRP MAIZE between late 2015 and early 2016. As part of this effort, we developed three case studies documenting and analysing dominant understandings of integrating gender in CRP MAIZE. The case studies include:

  • The Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa project in Zimbabwe, which aimed to reduce hunger and increase the food and income security of resource-poor farm families through the development and dissemination of drought-tolerant maize varieties.
  • The Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia in Bangladesh,which aimed to increase household income, food security and livelihood alternatives for impoverished and agriculturally dependent communities.
  • The Hill Maize Research Project in Nepal, whose overall aim was to improve the food security and income of poor and disadvantaged farmers in the hill regions of Nepal.

The case studies provide an evidence base for gender-aware research and contribute to capacity strengthening of CRP MAIZE staff. The findings also assist CIMMYT managers and researchers to better understand the various ways gender is understood and therefore integrated in the design and implementation of maize research. We also produced a comprehensive report documenting the projects, analysing findings and presenting recommendations. It also produced an outline for a CIMMYT-led journal article.