It is no news that to transform Africa’s agriculture, women will have to be on an equal footing with men. The same also needs to happen away from the fields, in agricultural research institutions devoted to address challenges and provide solutions to farmers. Fewer women than men are trained and employed in agricultural sciences, critically undermining the role of women in policy and decision-making processes.
But as a new research paper published in the Journal of Gender, Agriculture, and Food Security shows, there finally could be some good news. Using data collated from 40 African countries, the paper shows that the gender gap in African agricultural research has continued to close since 2008. The total number of women researchers increased from less than 9,000 in the year 2000 to more than 15,000 in 2014—an average of 24%. Southern Africa nations especially scored high with Lesotho and Namibia coming close to scoring gender parity. Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Chad scored low on the list; none of the nine total researchers in Guinea Bissau were female as of 2011, the latest year for which data was available. Read more