This year’s UN theme of International Women’s Day, I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights, underlines the fact that, despite global advances in many different areas, the world is still far too many decades away from achieving gender equality. Importantly, 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, probably the most forward looking agenda for women’s rights and empowerment ever signed. So, this is a significant moment to look back at targets, take stock of what has been achieved and what still needs to be done. The year 2020 is a time to rethink our actions, from local to broader global interventions aimed at achieving gender equality and promoting the human rights of all women and girls.
Gender equality is a fundamental human right. Moreover, the current challenges faced in agriculture, natural resource management, biodiversity conservation and restoration within the context of climate change can only be addressed if we achieve full equality. This is why gender equality has always been high on FTA’s agenda. As FTA’s overall research agenda has evolved over the years, so too has the Program’s portfolio of gender and social inclusion research. For this reason, FTA has been working on a new Gender and Social Inclusion Research Agenda and Action Plan, which draws on a tradition of quality gender work within FTA centers and complements FTA’s original Gender Strategy (2013). This new document reflects thematic evolutions in FTA and methodological developments in gender research and praxis. It features an increased attention to the nexus between gender and generation (including ‘youth’), and efforts to make FTA’s research increasingly transformative. Stay tuned as this new Research Agenda and Action Plan will be available on www.foreststreesagroforestry.
In our previous gender-focused newsletter (October 2019) we very sadly announced the loss of Dr Esther Mwangi, a staunch advocate for rural women’s rights, who led the crafting of FTA’s original Gender Strategy. Esther had been overseeing a longstanding research initiative on the progress of forest tenure reforms in Uganda and Kenya. This research has recently been published in the form of a collection of info briefs, which we share with you in her memoriam.
Realizing women’s rights means also that education, science and research must provide them with equal opportunities. Last 11th of February, on the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Violet Chanza Black, a research assistant working on gender at the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, shared her personal experience of struggles and determination to obtain equal education as boys in her village. Violet was born in Mulanje, rural Malawi. Her early years involved considerable commuting from her village to the capital city (Lilongwe) to allow her to follow courses. Violet succeeded in achieving her objectives and now holds an MSc in Development Economics, majoring in Human Development and Food Security from the University of Roma Tre. Follow this link to hear Violet’s story – one shared by so many girls around the world – and views on gender equality.
You will find Violet’s compelling interview and, other updates on FTA gender research as well as developments in some priority research areas of FTA in this edition of the newsletter. We hope that these stories and FTA’s work in general will inspire you to reframe your actions towards a gender-equal world; one we all should contribute to and enjoy.
Vincent Gitz, FTA Director, and Marlène Elias, FTA Gender Research Coordinator
The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) is the world’s largest research for development program to enhance the role of forests, trees and agroforestry in sustainable development and food security and to address climate change. CIFOR leads FTA in partnership with Bioversity International, CATIE, CIRAD, ICRAF, INBAR and TBI.