For social scientists working on gender research in international and national agriculture research centres, creating a balance between strategic gender research and mainstreaming gender into existing programs is walking a tight rope.
In research programmes gender mainstreaming refers to the the way in which research programmes incorporate gender perspectives so that the overall research framework, approach and methodologies employed to conduct the research are clearly gender sensitive. Gender mainstreaming is important because it incorporates the fundamental principle that women and men experience different conditions and opportunities in life, have different interests and needs, and are affected in different ways by social, political and economic processes, as a direct result of their gender.
The business case for gender has dominated much of the recent discourse on gender in agriculture. The idea that addressing gender inequalities in agriculture will lead to increased productivity, improved food and nutrition security, economic growth and a reduction in poverty is appealing to managers of organizations who have these as their core mandate.