A Gender Transformative Approach
Despite progress in integrating gender concerns in agricultural development, we need to go much further if we are to fully succeed and achieve the impacts on poverty and hunger to which we aspire. This goal requires a truly transformative approach.
A gender transformative approach is distinguished from the following common approaches to gender integration as follows:
Gender neutral: programmes that distinguish little between the needs of men and women, neither reinforcing nor questioning gender roles
Gender sensitive: programmes that recognize the specific needs and realities of men and women based on the social construction of gender roles
Gender transformative: approaches that seek to transform gender roles and promote more gender-equitable relationships between men and women
A gender transformative approach encourages critical awareness of gender roles and norms among men and women, challenges the distribution of resources and allocation of duties between men and women, and promotes the position of women while addressing power relationships between women and others in the community (Interagency Gender Working Group, USAID). This approach focuses on deconstructing hierarchical gender norms, constructing new concepts of masculinity and femininity and thereby transforming the underlying power relations that lead to poverty and hunger.
Gender transformation requires a ‘gender synchronised’ approach that works with both men and women, simultaneously and/or sequentially. The success of this approach relies on a commitment to making gender a part of normal program practice (rather than an add-on), adequate investment and strong capacity-building efforts.