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Gender in Livestock Systems

As a cross cutting theme, the “Role of Gender in Livestock Systems” integrates gender dimensions into all activities of the Livestock Systems Innovation Lab. These steps include identifying and implementing suitable avenues in which men and women can more fruitfully collaborate in livestock value chains.

Our research, extension, and development activities span all aspects of livestock value chains—from production to marketing and consumption—to ensure equitable access to resources and benefits. The Gender Team’s activities are premised on the notions that addressing gender issues and constraints both along the value chain and within households and communities is essential if livestock development programs are to lead to sustainable development, increase consumption of animal-source foods, and improve nutritional outcomes, particularly in poor households. Addressing gender issues goes beyond including women in programming and activities and requires addressing the differential situations, constraints and opportunities of both men and women in their roles as producers as well as consumers.

To help achieve the overall goals of the Innovation Lab, the Gender Team is involved in regular consultation processes with sub-awardees, regional coordinators and partner institutions. The Gender Team is particularly committed to:

  1. Enhancing the gender-sensitivity of funded research
  2. Enhancing the human and institutional capacity of partner institutions to integrate gender into both research and policy interventions in livestock sectors
  3. Promoting new tools and frameworks (e.g. WEAI adapted to livestock sectors) that can globally contribute to the enhanced study and understanding of gender issues in livestock value chains.

Integrating Gender throughout the Project Cycle

In many research projects, gender is added as an afterthought, if at all. Through an innovative webinar series and training materials, the Gender Team (in collaboration with the Nutrition cross-cutting theme) developed a series of practical materials to help researchers integrate gender at each stage of the project cycle. This includes identifying the benefits of integrating gender into the design, data analysis and reporting stages of the project cycle, and outlining strategies for inclusion in later project stages, even if it had not previously been incorporated.

Screenshot from Webinars on gender and nutrition

In addition, the Gender Team has compiled an Annotated Bibliography on gender-related research from the Livestock Systems Innovation Lab’s target countries and value chains related to gender and livestock. By consolidating  research that brings a gender lens to the study of livestock feed, production, health and animal-source food consumption, the Gender Team raises greater global awareness of this literature base and generates research interest in new areas of inquiry related to gender and livestock value chains.

Journal Article on GIRINKA

In the past decade, Rwanda has made great strides as a country to identify and reduce barriers associated with gender and stereotypes; however, problems still exist that have yet to be tackled regarding gender, including cultural gender norms, lack of access to extension and agricultural services, lack of access to financial support (through credit), and higher rates of illiteracy, especially for women. Although much progress has been made in the area of nutrition in Rwanda, stunting and malnutrition continue to exist at high rates throughout the country. Furthermore, gender and nutrition issues often go hand-in-hand. The “One Cow per Poor Family” program (commonly referred to as GIRINKA) was implemented to address two important issues: increasing income and reducing malnutrition. This paper is a brief review of the GIRINKA project from a gendered perspective and offers recommendations for implementing organizations on how the program might more actively address the needs of women and children related to nutrition and gender.


Empowering Women in Livestock Systems

Women Livestock Keepers - Making Progress


Leadership of Gender in Livestock Systems

 Kathleen Colverson

Dr. Kathleen Colverson, Lead

Dr. Renata Serra, Co-Lead

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Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems

This website is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and it Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems managed by the University of Florida and the International Livestock Research Institute. The contents are the responsibility of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock systems and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.