Skip to main content


Innovations in agriculture and natural resource management are crucial to address food and nutrition insecurity, poverty climate change and environmental degradation. However, innovations do not affect everyone equally. They can change the balance of power in gender relations within households and across entire communities. Innovations can accentuate or worsen current patterns of gender inequality. On the other hand, they can also improve equality, if constraints and opportunities are explicitly addressed and reformed with community members.

In every human society, the relationships between men and women are subject to local norms, and influence how work gets done, decisions are made and benefits are distributed. This means that although men and women collaborate in many different tasks, they also develop different and complementary areas of specialised knowledge, skillsets, responsibilities and priorities. These are contextually-specific and can change over time.


In all Bioversity International’s research in which people are central we use tools and approaches to capture the knowledge, priorities and aspirations of both men and women. We do this by making sure that men and women are equally represented as research participants, data are sex-disaggregated, and approaches to analyse gender relations and gender-specific constraints and opportunities are followed, in order to plan and implement our initiatives accordingly.

In addition, achieving gender equity is a special focus in key areas of our research. In these research areas we take a participatory research approach, to make sure that the research process is sensitive to the implications of innovations, favouring those that improve equality.


What's new with gender in the Alliance?

Joining forces from 1 January 2020 in the Alliance has allowed Bioversity International and CIAT to double the total number of gender scientists working together. We now have a critical mass of nine research scientists, encompassing a variety of qualitative and quantitative traditions, and embedded in several CGIAR Research Programs and Platforms, which represent different approaches and methodologies. Our new gender research team conducts research in all of our focus regions and allows us to integrate a gender focus in subjects as wide as Excellence in Breeding, forest management, pest and disease management, and the development of bean value chains for improved nutrition and income.

We believe that gender equality is a goal in its own right, as well as strengthening the relevance and effectiveness of all research projects with a social dimension. To that end, our research focuses on gender-transformative approaches, where new more-equitable norms are the objective, as well as gender-responsive research, in which research into other topics (e.g. breeding, natural resource management, or integrated pest management) is strengthened by including the perspectives and aspirations of both women and men as knowledge-holders, actors and beneficiaries. Our long-term aim is to be a truly gender-savvy organization, with all Alliance scientists, regardless of discipline, aware of the gender dimensions in their research and equipped to design their research accordingly.

Meet the team 


Thematic research areas

Gender in forest research

Find out more

Gender in seed systems

Find out more

Gender - what is it all about?

Gender refers to the social roles and identities associated with what it means to be a man or a woman in a given society or context. Gender roles may be shaped by ideological, religious, ethnic, economic and cultural factors and are a key determinant of the distribution of responsibilities and resources between men and women (Moser 1989).


Marlène Elias

Gender Specialist,
Conservation and Management of Forest Genetic Resources

Did you know?

  • More and more agricultural work is being done by women as men move to non-farm jobs.
  • Women often have responsibilities, such as fetching water, collecting fuelwood, and looking after children that make them more vulnerable than men to the impacts of climate change (Wright and Chandani 2014).
  • Female farmers produce less than their male counterparts because they have less access to or ownership of land, use fewer inputs and have less access to important services such as extension services.
  • If women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20–30%. This could raise total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5–4%, which could in turn reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12–17% (FAO 2011 p. 5).

Learn more facts

Success stories

'Creating mutual benefits: examples of gender and biodiversity outcomes from Bioversity International’s research' case studies show how using a gender lens in research can lead to opportunities and benefits to both men and women.

Banana split: Equitable benefits in banana farming

A new guide, developed by Bioversity International with partners will help design more effective control strategies for banana disease by taking into account social and gender norms.


Find out how


GENNOVATE: a cross-CRP, global comparative research initiative which addresses the question of how gender norms and agency influence men, women, and youth to adopt innovation in agriculture and natural resource management.

Watch a webinar about GENNOVATE here.           

Find out more


Bioversity International's research on gender is part of the CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research, and is supported by CGIAR Trust Fund Donors

Related news

Female empowerment for the future of cacao

In Peru, the Fine Flavor Cacao project is securing the next generation of cacao farmers by highlighting the role of women throughout production.

Read more

Farming with Joy: How to build resilience one bean at a time

Joy Mugisha is leading the way for rural women in Uganda by conserving and promoting local crop diversity.

Read more

Why gender matters in forest restoration

Effective forest and landscape restoration interventions need to take into account socio-political aspects and gender norms in order to ensure...

Read more

Beyond trees: Land restoration to enhance gender equality in Burkina Faso

Not all farmers are able to adopt or benefit from landscape restoration practices equally. A research initiative highlights how inclusive initiatives...

Read more

Celebrating women in science

Join us in celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science! On this occasion Bioversity International and CIAT feature some of our...

Read more