Three panels each consist of three 20-minute presentations and 35 minutes for discussion and Q&A. In another interactive panel over lunch, several conference presenters will share their personal journeys and career paths and answer questions from attendees.

Power, Positionality, and Intersectionality

Dr. Caroline Faria - Critical feminist reflexivity and the politics of whiteness in the ‘field’

Feminist geographic commonsense suggests that power shapes knowledge production, prompting the long-standing reflexive turn. Yet, often such reflexivity fixes racial power and elides more nuanced operations of difference – moves feminist scholars have, in fact, long problematized. To counter this, we revisit Kobayashi's (1994) ‘Coloring the Field’ [‘Coloring the Field: Gender, “Race”, and the Politics of Fieldwork,’ Professional Geographer 46 (1): 73–90]. Twenty years on, and grounded in our fieldwork in South Sudan and Honduras, we highlight how colonial and gender ideologies are interwoven through emotion. Decentering a concern with guilt, we focus on the way whiteness may inspire awe while scholars of color evoke disdain among participants. Conversely, bodies associated with colonizing pasts or presents can prompt suspicion, an emotive reaction to whiteness not always fixed to white bodies. These feelings have significant repercussions for the authority, legitimacy, and access afforded to researchers. Our efforts thus disrupt notions that we, as researchers, always wield power over our participants. Instead we argue that the positioning of ‘subjects of color’ in the global south, racially and in their relationships with us, is historically produced and socioculturally and geographically contingent. Rethinking the field in this way, as a site of messy, affective, and contingent racialized power, demonstrates the insights offered by bringing together feminist postcolonial and emotional geographies.

Jane Kato-Wallace - Engaging men and transforming masculinities for gender equality: What we know

This presentation will provide a synthesis about "what we know" about men and masculinities presenting research from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) co-developed by Promundo and the International Center for Research on Women and applied in over 45 countries. It will highlight the global trends, opportunities, and implications for practice. It will also present best practices in working with men and boys in ending violence against women and girls, promoting women's economic empowerment, and caregiving based on 20 years of programmatic work. 

Dr. Emily Van Houweling - Misinterpreting women’s empowerment?:  How a feminist postcolonial lens can reveal new dimensions of change in women’s lives

Women’s empowerment is a goal of many development programs and dozens of tools have been developed to measure and analyze empowerment.  Yet, these goals and tools neglect many important aspects of positive change valued by women.  Based on findings from an ethnographic exploration of a rural water project in Mozambique, I point to several key dimensions that emerged from interviews with water collectors, which complicate Western empowerment frameworks.  Using a postcolonial framework I argue that emotions, subjectivities, trade-offs, and marital relations deserve more attention in understanding change in women’s lives.

Gender and Nutrition-responsive Agriculture

Dr. Deborah Rubin - Strengthening women’s economic empowerment through agricultural extension: What it could look like

The past ten years have witnessed enormous change on two themes of gender and agricultural development work that were not previously considered together: women’s economic empowerment and agricultural extension and advisory services. A historical review reveals that much of the research and writing on women’s economic empowerment has focused on non-agricultural work, whether in wage employment or entrepreneurship, while agricultural extension systems for much of their 100-year existence have directed production and marketing information primarily to farmers who were men. What does this work suggest about the capacity of agricultural extension systems to strengthen women’s empowerment?

This presentation reviews emerging work on strengthening women’s economic empowerment through agricultural activities and on agricultural extension programming efforts that have sought to be more intentional in their work with women farmers and agripreneurs. Building on these examples, the presentation suggests opportunities for how extension systems can more deliberately choose approaches to achieve a more inclusive market-oriented agricultural system.

Dr. Beth Miller - One Health: Animal health, human health and social empowerment

One Health is the intentional linking of human, animal and environmental health interventions to improve outcomes. Although the logic and evidence for comprehensive approaches to health and environment quality are strong, the practical implications are challenging, due to long established institutional cultures that resist collaboration. Livestock are an especially impactful asset for women, especially in areas where women’s social status is significantly lower than their male counterparts. Women can own and manage livestock, especially small ruminants and poultry even in cultures where land ownership is difficult or unattainable. However, women continue to be overlooked as livestock managers, by men in their own families, as well as male veterinarians and other livestock professionals. Yet women in many places interact with human health services more than men because of their involvement in child health care. Therefore, intentionally linking animal and human health programs can bring knowledge and resources to women livestock-keepers, while also improving human health outcomes, and raising women’s social status.

Dr. Cornelia Flora - Gender, crops and animals: How women’s choices are critical for nutritional health

Women’s role in agriculture, nutrition and health has long been viewed as either non-existent or needing remediation to learn to serve enriched foods.  But lack of attention to women’s knowledge and practice has hurt the nutritional status of many populations around the world and led to a linear model of the relation of agriculture to nutrition in health.  By building on what women currently do in terms of utilizing and enhancing community capitals -- natural, cultural, human, social, political and built – as they raise, utilize and process crops and livestock, health status can be improved through eating more nutritious food throughout the agricultural cycle.

Access: Land, Markets, and the Gendering of Environmental Systems

Dr. Elizabeth Jimenez - Rural livelihoods strategies and globalized markets: An analysis of women’s participation among Quinoa producers in the Southern Bolivian Highlands

The objective of this paper is to identify and analyse changes in women’s participation in agricultural production and commercialization of Quinoa among small-scale agricultural producers in the Southern Bolivian Highlands. While Quinoa is a traditional crop produced in this region for generations, the recent rise of Quinoa international prices has led to significant changes; both in terms of expanding the use of land to increase production levels , as well as shifting to more capital intensive technologies and the use of waged labour (Laguna, 2016). In the process, local institutions (rules and regulations) aimed at the management of access and use of land and the organization of commercialization have also changed with different implications for Quinoa producing communities.

Special emphasis is given to identify and explore different livelihood strategies among Quinoa producers, the extent into which women’s participation in production and commercialization varies across different livelihoods and the implications that such differences might have on economic and environmental sustainability.

How does export lead agriculture shape women’s participation in the production and commercialization of Quinoa? What capitals (e.g,  human, natural, economic and social, among others) become highly instrumental for households to cope with market related uncertainty and risk? To what extent and under what circumstances can export-led agricultural become an opportunity for small-scale agricultural producers to ensure long-run sustainable livelihood strategies? And specifically, to what extend does export lead agriculture lead to changes in women’s participation in the production and commercialization of Quinoa and in the large process of women’s empowerment?

Overall, this study aims at exploring the impact of highly volatile and globalized markets on the livelihood strategies of small-scale agricultural producers such as the Quinoa producers of this study, and specifically in the  participation and possible empowerment of women agricultural producers

Dr. Luke Juran - Human-environment genderscapes in South Asia: Suffering for water, suffering from disasters

Women and men interact differently with both water and disasters, ultimately leading to a ‘gendered terrain’ of natural resources and environmental processes. South Asia is a region where this confluence is particularly evident. In terms of water, women are subjected to gender roles in water collection, household water treatment, management of scarce resources, as well as greater exposure to waterborne diseases and unique water-related health issues. This gendering of water resources has been explicitly recognized in models for water resources management (e.g., IWRM). In terms of disasters, data will be presented to demonstrate that women are more vulnerable than men before, during, and after disasters. The biological variable of being female (sex) fails to fully account for gaps in disaster morbidity and mortality--rather socially constructed variables (gender) are responsible for such disparities.

Ms. Nadima Sahar - Strategies for addressing gender-based constraints to technical and vocational education and training opportunities in Afghanistan