E-Learning Module Addresses Gender in Agricultural Education
Improving women’s status increases food security and reduces poverty. Despite this, development interventions often fail to empower women, and women remain underrepresented in schools around the world. Women’s contributions to agriculture, especially, are given little attention.
“Women are largely left out of agricultural education and training (AET). It doesn’t make sense to leave out half of the brain-power for a sector so important to the economic development of a country,” said Maria Elisa Christie, director of Women and Gender in International Development at Virginia Tech.
To help inform practitioners about the challenges women face in accessing agricultural programs, and good practices for increasing women’s participation, the Innovation for Agricultural Training and Education (InnovATE) project has developed a new e-learning module. “Gender is a cornerstone of the InnovATE program; if we do not fully understand women’s access to AET, our project cannot effectively build capacity,” said InnovATE director Tom Hammett. The module is hosted on the InnovATE website and will be used to support program activities with AET institutions around the world.
Hammett explained the motivation for developing the module. “We want to offer information on gender in AET through various platforms to increase accessibility for a diverse range of audiences. This online module will extend the reach of InnovATE’s existing gender research.”
The interactive module shares knowledge about gender issues that impact AET professionals. Key topics addressed include barriers that lead to gender disparities in education, strategies for addressing gender issues in agriculture, and recommendations for encouraging girls in agricultural sciences. Another important goal for this module is to answer the question of “What can be done to improve AET for women?” According to Christie, one answer is to “raise awareness” of gender issues and good practices to address them.
InnovATE plans to continue developing e-learning modules that target development stakeholders, USAID missions, extension groups, and other practitioners interested in linking agricultural innovation systems and food security. These modules are an expansion of InnovATE’s goal to train stakeholders and provide them with information and resources at multiple levels and locations.
To view the gender in AET e-learning module, visit the InnovATE website.