cultural studies

Edited Collection: Call for Chapter Abstracts

Posted on

Due: January 15, 2014 

Towards a Transformative Approach to Gender and Food Security in Low-Income Countries 


John R. Parkins, University of Alberta,

Jemimah Njuki, International Development Research Centre,

Amy Kaler, University of Alberta,


Gender inequity is linked to food insecurity. Research shows that women are at the heart of agricultural processes, carrying out the majority of the agricultural and agro-processing labor. For instance, in Tanzania, women account for about 50% of the total waged agricultural labor force (FAO 2011), but even this figure severely understates women’s contributions because of the unaccounted and unpaid hours women work at home producing and processing food production for their families. Constraints on women are therefore roadblocks toon food and nutrition security. When women have equal access to productive resources and assets, everyone benefits. For example, a study in Ethiopia found that women who were provided with the same level of productive resources as male farmers increased their yields by 22% (Boon, Ogato and Subramani 2009). Similarly, the Food and Agriculture Organization (2011) suggests that equal distribution of assets would increase food productivity by 20-30% and reduce the number of hungry people by close to 17%. In response to such findings, national governments and donors have directed funding to research and development programs which integrate gender into research and which set gender equity as an explicit goal of interventions.

Such interventions can address both practical and strategic gender interests (UNESCO 2005, Molyneux 1985). In practical terms, these interventions can provide women with the capacity to meet the long-term nutritional needs of their households, and to enhance their economic well-being. In strategic terms, these interventions may have the potential to enhance the transformation of gender relations towards greater equity by enabling women and men to reflect on gendered divisions of labor and resources related to food, and to reshape these divisions in ways which benefit families and communities. Research and interventions using such an approach aims to facilitate more gender-equitable relationships between men and women and address the underlying social, structural and political causes of gender inequality. Such

transformative approaches contrast with analytical approaches that simply identify barriers or tabulate numbers of men and women involved in project activities. The process of engagement with strategic gender interests is not well established, and is still emergent in the realm of agriculture.

This collection aims to document the ways that food security interventions have addressed both practical and strategic gender interests by: documenting the ways that food security and gender inequity are conceptualized within interventions, assessing the impacts and outcomes of gender-responsive programs on food security and gender equity; and extending the global conversation on gender and food security in the direction of strategic and transformative practices.

In 2009, Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada launched the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF) to increase the contribution of Canadian and developing country research expertise toward solving global problems of food insecurity through applied, collaborative, results-oriented research. To date, the Fund has supported 21 large applied agriculture and nutrition research consortia in 20 countries.

The idea for this collection arose from CIFSRF’s goal to find ways to ensure that women contribute to and benefit from food security programs and interventions, and that its projects contribute to gender equity, as well as enabling communities to meet their nutritional needs. This call for abstracts is directed primarily at projects funded by IDRC, although the editors will consider contributions from other research and intervention projects.

We invite contributions which address the lessons learned from implementing food security interventions with concern for gender equity, as well as contributions which consider how agriculture and nutrition interventions might lead to transformations in gender relations.

Scope of this collection 

The first part of the collection will contain conceptual and methodological papers and best practices for integrating gender considerations in agriculture, food and nutrition security. The second part will include empirical case studies which present evidence on the outcomes and impacts of food security interventions on women and men across the global south. The third part, looking towards the future, will focus on policy, research and programming implications of bringing gender transformative approaches into the mainstream of agriculture and food security research interventions.

We are seeking papers which address the following questions:

Part 1: Concepts and Strategies: 

 What conceptual / theoretical approaches to gender and food security can lead to changes in both practical and strategic gender interests?

 How does strategic or transformative research differ from business-as-usual (or purely analytical) approaches to studying gender?

 What challenges and limitations affect the integration of gender equity into agriculture and food security research programs?

 What controversies or sensitivities can emerge in the context of gender-sensitive interventions?

 How can we integrate strategic or transformative gender concerns into detailed empirical analysis?

Part 2: Case Studies and Practical Results 

 What key approaches have been used for addressing gender interests in agriculture and food security programs?

 What have been the outcomes and impacts of using these approaches? What have been the changes in food and nutrition security, livelihoods and gender equity?

 How are gender-sensitive research and interventions introduced and received at the grassroots?

 What do specific cases tell us about the opportunities, challenges and limitations of addressing gender inequities through research and intervention in food security? What can we learn from successful and not-so-successful efforts to address gender inequities in agriculture and food security research?

Part 3: Towards the Future: 

 Can gender relations be transformed through research and intervention?

 What would a 21st century agenda for gender equity in food security look like?

 What are the limits to research and intervention in transforming communities?

 How can funders, implementers, researchers and community members find common ground on gender transformation?

 What kind of partnerships and capacities will be required for the implementation of a gender transformative agenda in food security research?

Guidelines for contributions 

We are seeking contributions of extended abstracts (2-3 pagers) for papers that are based on practical, strategic or transformative aspects of gender and food security. For field research and practical case studies, we welcome papers that address how gender is integrated in agriculture and food security research programs and that report evidence of outcomes and impacts on gender equity, food and nutrition security and livelihoods. The papers should also have practical implications for policy, practice and research.

Papers will be reviewed based on:

 Clear demonstration of relevance of the paper to food security challenges of men and women

 Clear demonstration of innovativeness in methods and approaches and extent to which the paper advances knowledge or addresses knowledge gaps on gender and food security

 Conceptual soundness

 Robustness of methodology, research design and quality of evidence

 Contributions of the research to food security, gender equality and empowerment of women

Chapter abstracts are due on January 15th 2014. 

Abstracts submission is open to IDRC funded food security programs and others working on gender, agriculture and food security. Preference will be given to IDRC funded programs, although manuscripts from non-IDRC funded and commissioned chapters will also be considered.

Following the abstract deadline, the editors will notify the authors of the chosen abstracts. Authors will be invited to present complete first drafts of their papers (5,000 – 7,000 words) at an international conference and a writer’s workshop sponsored by CIFSRF and the University of Alberta in May 2014. Invited authors will receive travel support to attend this conference / workshop. The editors will work with selected authors to revise their drafts towards final versions.

The editors plan to submit the collection to an academic press by the end of August 2014 with a potential publication date of March 2015.

Send abstracts to John Parkins (


The Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF) is a program of Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD).