Australia promotes gender equality in agricultural research and development
Among Vietnam’s farming communities, what are the existing gender norms, and how do these impact implementation of development projects aimed at delivering more productive, sustainable and profitable agricultural systems?
Agricultural researchers believe that failure to consider gender norms ultimately leads to low levels of adoption of technological innovations among the intended users, and in fact, exacerbates gender inequality among members of agricultural communities.
To help research and development workers achieve the impact they desire, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) organised a two-day workshop promoting the use of a ‘gender lens’ in agricultural production and value-chain research and development in Vietnam.
Farming systems in the country are undergoing rapid change brought about by increased levels of commercialisation and market integration, adoption of labour efficient technologies, migration of youth in response to non-farm work opportunities, and other factors. These processes are not only shaping rural landscapes and communities, but are also challenging traditional gender roles.
Drawing on research funded by Australia and UN Women on Female Farmers and Inclusive Growth in Vietnam, Professor Dang Nguyen Anh, Vice President of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) said, “Women account for over 50% of the total agricultural workforce. The market economy, land reforms and rural development have brought about more favourable conditions for agricultural production in Vietnam, however it is typically men rather than women who are the key beneficiaries.”
Speaking before the workshop participants, Australia Deputy Head of Mission, Mr. Layton Pike, in his opening remarks said that: “Australia places a strong emphasis on promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment across all of the Embassy’s engagements in Vietnam. We are proud of the long standing cooperation between Australian and Vietnamese agricultural research institutions, and believe that improving the terms of women’s engagement in agriculture, will be contributing to the socio-economic development of this country.”
Through presentations and group activities at the workshop, participants representing various academic, research and development organizations both in and outside of Vietnam, expanded and shared their knowledge of the gender dimensions of agricultural production and their implications for agricultural research in Vietnam.
Supporting Vietnam since 1993 with a fund of over AUD50 million, ACIAR has been highlighting the importance of gender in its activities, to ensure that the technologies and policies being evaluated are accessible to both women and men, result in widespread adoption, and leads to the desired impact in terms of improved livelihood.