Identifying women farmers: Informal gender norms as institutional barriers to recognizing women’s contributions to agriculture
This article (PDF) in the Journal of Gender, Agriculture, and Food Security elaborates on the challenges of collecting sex-disaggregated data. While sex-disaggregated data collection is seen as an important step towards understanding women’s contributions to agriculture and including a gender perspective in agricultural research, social norms both in farming communities and research organizations often limit the amount of data collected from women. This reinforces the notion that women are not farmers or producers. This is especially true for male-dominated crops, such as rice in Latin America. This article draws on experiences of collecting sex-disaggregated data about rice production in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. The authors found that women as well as research-staff often disqualify women as farmers and therefore women are not interviewed. However, the data that does exist, collected mostly from men, indicates that women play significant roles in rice production. Several recommendations to include women’s perspective in research are presented, like working with more gender sensitive sample designs and including gender researchers who are aware of the barriers in collecting sex-disaggregated data. The authors argue that for gender and agricultural research, it is important to recognize how gender-norms-as-institutions impact data collection and how this limits our knowledge of women’s contributions to agricultural production and gender differences in agriculture. This research shows how gender norms are institutions that are embodied in specific actors and constrain our understanding of women’s roles in agriculture.