Implementing Gender-Transformative Approaches (GTAs) in Agricultural Initiatives
What are GTAs?
Gender transformative approaches (GTAs) aim to change existing power dynamics, structures, and social norms that are the root causes of gender-based inequality as a means of achieving development objectives (Cornwall & Rivas, 2016; Hillenbrand, Karim, Mohanraj, & Wu, 2015; Kabeer & Subrahmanian, 1996). In this way, GTAs are different from most other gender-related approaches in the development realm, which simply address the symptoms of gender-based inequality rather than its underlying causes.
GTAs exist on a continuum of gender-aware approaches, located opposite exploitative initiatives, which seek to take advantage of harmful gender norms in order to achieve development outcomes. In between exploitative and transformative approaches are gender “accommodating” approaches, which adjust for gender norms and inequalities but do not seek to change them. For example, initiatives that seek to generate income for women accommodate for the norm of women earning less than men, but they do not seek to affect the underlying causes of this income gap. GTAs, in contrast, actively strive to examine, question, and change gender norms and imbalances of power, encouraging critical awareness among men and women and challenging the distribution of resources and gendered allocation of duties.
GTAs have not yet been widely implemented in agricultural initiatives; they are currently more commonly used in the health sector, where they were originally developed. However, preliminary evidence suggests that implementing GTAs within agricultural initiatives has the potential to create positive long-lasting change for both women and men (Cole, Kantor, Sarapura, & Rajaratnam, 2014). In fact, some argue that GTAs are the only means through which agricultural technologies will be adopted and scaled out in a gender-equitable manner (Kantor, Morgan, & Choudhury, 2015). This paper will explore the key elements of GTAs and will provide examples of their application within agricultural initiatives, as well as resources for agricultural practitioners.
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