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Gender Equality Mainstreaming Digest – April 2019 Issue

Here are the highlights of this month’s Gender Equality Mainstreaming Digest! Click HERE for the full version.

Forest with field in late winter. Photo courtesy of D. Ceplis.


Opportunities and Upcoming Events:

Summer internship for Indigenous peoples in Genomics Canada (SING Canada) – This year’s Summer internship for Indigenous peoples in Genomics Canada (SING Canada) will take place from 14 July – 20 July 2019 at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, AB on Treaty 6 and Métis territory. SING Canada is a week-long, all expenses paid Indigenous science, technology, and society (Indigenous STS) training program that holds Indigenous knowledge and sovereignty, community expertise, and ethical relationships as paramount in what we do. A multi-disciplinary team of faculty members, including renown Indigenous Studies scholar, Dr. Kim TallBear, will lead participants in investigating the interdependence of human and non-human animal health related to chronic wasting disease (CWD). Deadline to apply is March 30.

Global HERizon’s Call for Applications for rural young women – We believe in the power of women to change the world, and provide young women from rural Canada with the opportunity to receive a modest financial contribution to their academic or career ambitions (maximum $5000 CAD), along with expert mentorship support to help build bridges between local and global impact.
With your great idea in hand, to qualify for this opportunity:
• You are a Canadian woman (in terms of gender: cis or female-identifying; in terms of status: citizen or permanent resident).
• You are 27 years of age or less as of December 31, 2019.
• You have grown up in rural Canada (required). ‘Rural’ in this case is broadly defined to mean a community of approximately 5000 people or less.
• You have a demonstrated commitment to creating positive social change in your community or the world through volunteer work, research or other social engagement.
• You are willing to engage actively in the mentorship relationship, provide regular updates on your work to Global HERizons, and are committed to ‘pay it forward’ by engaging and inspiring other young women to engage globally.
Deadline to apply is April 30, 2019.

This Month’s News:

First Female Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food in Canada – Marie-Claude Bibeau, Member of Parliament for Compton-Stanstead, was sworn in on March 1 as the new federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. The first woman to ever hold this role, Bibeau will be working hard in the next few weeks to become familiar with Canada’s agricultural issues.

In her former role as Minister of International Development, she helped refocus Canada’s international assistance on helping the poorest and most vulnerable people and on supporting fragile states. In June 2017, after several months of consultations, Minister Bibeau launched Canada’s new Feminist International Assistance Policy. This innovative new vision will make Canada a leader in the fight against poverty by prioritizing gender equality in the country’s international assistance programming.

Supported by this new policy, Minister Bibeau advocated for actions and initiatives that empower women and girls, and she defended their rights. As well, she was at the heart of Canada’s strategy for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development objectives both at home and around the world.

First Female President of Canadian Federation of Agriculture – The Canadian Federation of Agriculture has elected its first-ever female president in a changing of the guard at its latest annual meeting.

Mary Robinson, past-president of the Prince Edward Island Federation of Agriculture, was elected president Wednesday at the CFA’s AGM in Ottawa. She replaces Ron Bonnett, the organization’s president since 2010.

Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience, and Environment – Dr. Kim TallBear, a professor in the faculty of native studies at the University of Alberta, says she leverages her privilege – her tenure; her seniority as holder of the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience, and Environment; and the respect she holds in her field – to turn the dial on the public conversation about science and Indigeneity.

She leads the Indigenous Science, Technology, and Society (Indigenous STS) Research and Training Program. Indigenous STS is an international hub dedicated to advancing Indigenous self-determination and self-governance through Indigenous scientific literacy and techno-scientific projects. It has connected Indigenous scholars around the world who are effectively working to change how science is done. It’s an effort that challenges the assumption that science comes from, and is practiced in, a neutral space by examining how Eurocentric and colonialist thinking shape mainstream understanding – to the exclusion of Indigenous ways of knowing and being.

Reports Publications and Resources:

Podcast: Confronting Gender Bias in Agriculture Takes Daily Work – On “Food Talk with Dani Nierenberg,” Dr. Mariame Maiga—Regional Gender and Social Development Advisor for the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF)—calls upon policymakers to examine the role gender plays in agricultural and sustainable development. “Unless we bridge the gender gap in the agricultural sector, to facilitate equitable access to agricultural production resources, we will not be able to meet [regional goals for food security],” says Maiga.

“This kind of challenge requires confrontation on a daily basis,” says Maiga. “The countries involved know that they need to deal with gender in any program or process because they need to think about how to address cultural challenges.” According to CORAF, women represent at least 62 percent of the active farming population in Africa. “We say that a minimum of 40 percent of women should benefit from CORAF projects,” says Maiga.

CORAF reaches women with gender-smart and climate-smart technologies that help women with day-to-day labor and long-term business development—these technologies range from yield-boosting resources to fish drying and smoking equipment. “In Burkina Faso, we have a technology for drying mangoes. One woman using the technology is now working with more than 100 women and young people because she developed a business. We have so much material on gender outcomes like this,” says Maiga.

Transforming gender relations in small-scale agriculture – The recent State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report from FAO notes that the prevalence of severe food insecurity is increasing globally and is higher among women than men in Africa, Asia and Latin America. To address this and other gender concerns, many are calling for gender transformative approaches: structural change in social and political life, and in access to and control over assets.

While the current situation is challenging, there are at least two more challenges on the horizon. The first is that gender transformation must be situated within the rapid changes already occurring in rural areas, including the feminization of small-scale agriculture. While feminization of agriculture could possibly open up decision-making arenas for women, Itishree Pattnaik and colleagues in their recent article elegantly suggest that the feminization of agriculture may better be described as the feminization of agrarian distress, with women’s growing contribution of labor in agriculture adding to their already heavy work burdens, thus further undermining their well-being.

The second challenge is the larger rural transformation that needs to take place to address global challenges such as poverty. We have argued elsewhere that food systems need to be transformed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, to build widespread resilience and to put agriculture and food on a low emissions development trajectory. The financial resources needed for such a transformation dwarf what the development community can provide, thus we expect the private sector to play a major role. Small-scale producers could potentially be sidelined, with the greatest threats to those with fewer resources and power: women, among others. For example, the commercialization of dairy in Kenya has severe negative impacts for women.

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