Gendered aspirations and occupations among rural youth, in agriculture and beyond: A cross-regional perspective

Elias, M and Mudege, N and Lopez, D E and Najjar, D and Kandiwa, V and Luis, J and Yila, J and Tegbaru, A and Ibrahim, G and Badstue, L and Njuguna, E M and Bentaibi, A (2018) Gendered aspirations and occupations among rural youth, in agriculture and beyond: A cross-regional perspective. Journal of Gender, Agriculture and Food Security, 3 (1). pp. 82-107. ISSN 2413-922X

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Based on 25 case studies from the global comparative study ‘GENNOVATE: Enabling gender equality in agricultural and environmental innovation’, this paper explores rural young women’s and men’s occupational aspirations and trajectories in India, Mali, Malawi, Morocco, Mexico, Nigeria, and the Philippines. We draw upon qualitative data from 50 sex-segregated focus groups with the youth to show that across the study’s regional contexts, young rural women and men predominantly aspire for formal blue and white-collar jobs. Yet, they experience an aspirationachievement gap, as the promise of their education for securing the formal employment they seek is unfulfilled, and they continue to farm in their family’s production. Whereas some young men aspired to engage in knowledge-intensive or ‘modern’ agriculture, young women did not express any such interest. Framing our analysis within a relational approach, we contend that various gender norms that discriminate against women in agriculture dissuade young women from aspiring for agriculture-related occupation. We discuss the gendered opportunity spaces of the study sites, the meanings these hold for allowing young women and men to achieve their aspirations and catalyze agricultural innovation, and implications for agricultural policies and research for development. Our findings show that youth and gender issues are inextricably intertwined and cannot be understood in isolation one from the other.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : West & Central Africa
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems
CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry
CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC)
CGIAR Research Program on Maize
CGIAR Research Program on Rice
CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas
CGIAR Research Program on Gender & Agricultural Research Network
CGIAR Research Program on Wheat
Uncontrolled Keywords: Gender norms, relational approach, aspiration-achievement gap, intersectionality, masculinities, opportunity structure, gender equality, gender issues, women in agriculture, India, Mali, Malawi, Morocco, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines
Subjects: Others > Agriculture
Others > Gender Research
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2018 08:53
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2018 08:57
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: The authors thank the many young women and men who participated in this research for sharing their time and insights. We gratefully acknowledge the local data collection teams in each of the study countries, without whom these comparative analyses would not be possible. The CGIAR Fund Donors funded this research, through a number of CGIAR Research Programs: Dryland Systems; Forests, Trees and Agroforestry; Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals; MAIZE; RICE; Roots, Tubers and Bananas; and WHEAT. The CGIAR Gender & Agricultural Research Network, the World Bank, the government of Mexico, the government of Germany, and the CGIAR Research Programs on WHEAT and MAIZE provided additional funding to develop the GENNOVATE methodology. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation generously supported data analysis. Two competent teams led by Diana E Lopez in Mexico and Lucila Rozas Urrunaga in Peru coded the case studies, and further research assistance was provided by Mariachiara Ficarelli, Viola di Cori, Lydie Laure Tajioni Mampuesso, and Victoria Winsryg. We thank Patti Petesch, Carol Colfer, and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript.
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