The gender impact of technological upgrading in agriculture
This study is the latest contribution to UNCTAD’s curriculum on trade and gender linkages and examines the relationship between technology in agriculture and trade from a gender perspective. This study is a unique contribution in bringing the trade and gender framework developed in previous teaching modules to bear on two interrelated topical areas of great significance for women’s economic wellbeing and participation in trade: agriculture and technology.
The findings of the study indicate that agricultural technology is deeply gendered, from its inception in research and development to its diffusion, access, and adoption. Technology can be crucial in supporting women’s participation in higher-value activities in global agrifood chains and in fostering ecologically sustainable agricultural practices essential to cope with the effects of climate change and improve the livelihoods of rural women who are among those most vulnerable to climate impacts. However, women face many gender-based barriers to accessing technologies, and available technologies often fail to meet their particular needs.
To address these gender gaps in agricultural technology innovation and access, the study recommends a gender-sensitive approach be adopted from the initial stages of research and development, to training and extension services, as well as credit provision and measures supporting women’s ownership and control of technologies. Gender considerations should inform policies and research priorities in order to ensure that the different economic roles and challenges of both men and women are appropriately recognized. Toward these ends, it is crucial to support capacity-building in sex-disaggregated data collection in the agricultural sector. These measures would be important steps toward addressing the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, including food security, sustainable agriculture, gender equality, and empowerment of all women and girls.