Women’s empowerment through seed improvement and seed governance: Evidence from participatory barley breeding in pre-war Syria

Galiè, A and Jiggins, J and Struik, P C and Grando, S and Ceccarelli, S (2017) Women’s empowerment through seed improvement and seed governance: Evidence from participatory barley breeding in pre-war Syria. NJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, 81. pp. 1-8. ISSN 15735214

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Approaches to food security primarily focus on technological solutions, seeking to produce more food, preferably with fewer resources. It has been argued that access to food involves issues of resource distribution and social marginalization. Governance is seen as one of the keys to redressing the institutional inequity that affects resource distribution. Rural women’s empowerment is seen as a means to reduce social marginalization and to hasten progress towards hunger eradication and gender equitable institutions. Building on the empirical findings of a six-year study (2006–2011) undertaken in the context of a participatory barley breeding (PBB) programme in pre-war Syria, this paper establishes the links between women’s empowerment, seed improvement through PPB and seed governance vis-à-vis household food security. The study shows how the programme enhanced the empowerment of the respondent women and how gender-blind seed governance regimes at national and international levels restricted the empowerment of these women ultimately affecting the pillars of food security. We discuss some of the challenges encountered by the study in conceptualizing and operationalizing gender analysis to enhance women’s empowerment. The article further discusses the interplay of processes to both discipline gender norms and provides transformational opportunities towards gender equity created by public spaces such as the PBB programme. The article contributes to current discussions on the effective pathways to develop smallholder agriculture, enhance gender equity and enhance food security and rural livelihoods in the dry areas of the temperate world.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Seed governance, Empowerment, Gender analysis, Participatory plant breeding, Syria, Empowerment of women farmers, Seed improvement, Food security, Women farmers, Smallholder agriculture, Gender equity, Rural livelihoods
Subjects: Others > Smallholder Farmers
Others > Cereals
Others > Semi-Arid Tropics
Others > Rural Development
Others > Gender Research
Others > Seed Systems
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2017 10:17
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2017 10:17
URI: http://oar.icrisat.org/id/eprint/10281
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.njas.2017.01.002
Acknowledgement: This work was supported by the CGIAR Participatory Research and Gender Analysis (PRGA) Programme and by Wageningen University. We would like to thank the ICARDA team for their support and Micheal Micheal and Kasem Al-Ahmad in particular. We are especially grateful to the respondent women farmers, men farmers and extension agents for their time and commitment to collaborating with this research and with the PPB programme.
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