We invite contributions that consider the links between research, evidence, and impacts on gender equality and social inclusion, and their relationship with other food system outcomes (diets, nutrition and health; poverty and livelihoods; environmental health; climate resilience). What kinds of evidence, innovations, and combinations thereof, developed and used under which conditions, can be levers of transformative change? And how can research for development processes and all that they entail – equitable partnerships, etc. – catalyse gender transformative change in food systems?
Under this broad umbrella, we welcome contributions on the following themes :

Theme Leads: Sahar Alnouri (Mercy Corps) and Eileen Nchanji (Alliance of Bioversity International and International Center for Tropical Agriculture)

Although rural women in all their diversity often possess specialized knowledge and skills that contribute to climate-resilient agriculture, their typical exclusion from decision-making processes limits their ability to shape policies and programs that affect their lives. Additionally, the impacts of conflict and COVID-19 are unevenly distributed due to existing gender inequalities in access to resources, formal education, information, finance, health care, and economic opportunities, care responsibilities, and more. This theme addresses the gendered dimensions of these challenges and their root causes, and explores approaches that elevate women’s voices, address unequal work burdens and power dynamics, and increase equitable access to information, markets, and lucrative economic opportunities. We invite contributions on effective strategies for mitigating and adapting to multiple shocks and stresses, and promoting sustainable development for women, their families, and their communities, particularly from an intersectional perspective.

Subthemes may include:

  • Understanding the gender and social inclusion impacts of climate change, COVID, conflict and other shocks and stresses on agriculture and food systems.
  • Examining the role of gender and other social relations in shaping adaptive and transformative capacities for building resilience.
  • Exploring the links between individual agency and household and community resilience to climate shocks and stresses.
  • Understanding the gendered implications of safety nets and humanitarian response to climate and conflict shocks and their impacts on the agri-food systems.
  • Assessing the gender inclusiveness of policies addressing climate and other shocks and stresses within the agri-food system.
  • Developing gender-responsive solutions to food crises in the context of climate change and other shocks and stresses.
  • Analyzing gendered considerations for, and impacts of, climate finance for agriculture and food systems.
  • Conflict-sensitive, gender- and socially-inclusive approaches to agriculture and food systems.

Theme Leads: Esther Achandi (International Livestock Research Institute) and Amon Mwiine (Makerere University)

In this theme, we invite contributions that help conceptualise and assess women’s empowerment, social (gender) norms, masculinities and femininities, and gender transformative change as well as the linkages among these. We explore approaches and innovations that can transform the social and gender norms that restrict the achievement of equitable, sustainable food systems. We seek practical lessons and implications from success stories as well as from interventions or larger change processes that have had unintended disempowering effects on women and gender equality in agri-food systems.

Subthemes may include:

  • Conceptualizing and unpacking women’s empowerment, masculinities, social (gender) norms, and gender transformative change in agrifood systems.
  • Assessing and/or measuring women’s empowerment or gender transformative change.
  • Exploring how women’s empowerment, masculinities, norms, and gender transformative change are linked conceptually and in programming.
  • Evidence of approaches that have created pathways for attaining and sustaining women’s empowerment and gender transformative change in food systems, and of their effects.
  • Analysis of principles, approaches, challenges and opportunities for engaging men and masculinities towards gender transformative change in agrifood systems.
  • Emerging challenges, gaps, and rolling back of gender equality gains in agrifood systems.
  • Examining and addressing gender-based violence in agrifood systems.

Theme leads: Vivian Polar (International Potato Center (CIP)) and Vidya Vemireddy (Indian Institute of Management – Ahmedabad (IIMA))

Access to information, quality inputs, capital, markets, land, and more are not equitably distributed across gender groups. The problem is complex and encompasses a lack of understanding of agri-food systems and technologies that enable inclusive and equitable productivity and income gains. Technology and innovation are seldom, if ever, gender neutral. To advance towards gender equality and inclusive development, women and men from various socioeconomic and demographic backgrounds must have equal ability and opportunity to innovate, and to adapt, adopt, and benefit from agri-food systems innovations. In this theme, we invite contributions that conceptualize, assess, and/or evaluate the gender-responsiveness or gender-transformative potential of agri-food system innovations that address the production, distribution, and/or consumption of food.

Subthemes may include:

  • Identifying metrics/measures to assess the inclusivity and gender-responsiveness or gender-transformative potential of agri-food systems innovations and their associated gendered outcomes.
  • Exploring the underlying behavioral and socio-economic factors shaping the (non)adoption of these innovations.
  • Assessing outcomes of gender-responsive production technologies and innovations, including crop/livestock/fish improvement, mechanization, sustainable intensification, and digital innovations.
  • Identifying the gendered benefits and pitfalls of approaches and interventions aiming to promote inclusive biodiversity, natural resource, water, and landscape management, fisheries and aquaculture, forestry and agroforestry, and livestock development and pastures.
  • Examining the role of social innovations, including collective action and institutional change, in advancing gender equality and social inclusion in agri-food systems.
  • Examining socio-technical bundles, and their impacts and promise for equitable agri-food systems.

Theme Leads: Rahma Adams (WorldFish) and Sabdiyo Dido (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA))

This theme seeks to shed light on how to create an enabling agri-food market environment for women, youth, poor men, and other marginalized individuals and communities. It examines how these social groups can not only fully participate in, but also benefit equitably from, agri-food market innovations and systems.

Subthemes may include:
  • Gendered access to assets and resources (financial, knowledge, networks, labor, among others) that enable participation in and benefits from agri-food market systems.
  • The quality and inclusiveness of engagement (participation, benefits, etc.) across agri-food value chains (high, medium and low nodes).
  • Gender (in)equity in formal and informal agri-food sectors, and interconnections across sectors.
  • Gender equality and social inclusion in cross-border trade of agri-food commodities.
  • Policies and regulations (e.g., licenses, certification, taxation) supporting or hindering gender equality in agri-food market systems.
  • Engagement and commitment of private, government and development sectors towards gender equality and social inclusion in market systems.
  • Gender-responsive and -transformative approaches for addressing social norms and barriers that impede gender equality in agri-food market systems.
  • The potential of corporate social responsibility, voluntary sustainability standards (e.g., third-party certification systems) and other alternative market schemes for promoting gender equality.

Theme leads: Sapna Desai (Population Council) and Neha Kumar (International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI))

Women play a significant role within the food system – as farmers, processors, traders, and consumers. However, entrenched gender inequities – reflected in income and asset disparities between women and men, norms that prioritize the nutrition of men and boys over women and girls, women’s limited decision-making power in the household, and more – contribute to persistently lower health and nutrition outcomes for women and girls in many settings. Addressing gender equality and women’s empowerment within food systems is critical for improving women’s health and well-being, and progressing towards food and nutrition security for all. This theme seeks contributions that address gender issues across the links between food security, nutrition and health, with a specific focus on agri-food systems.

Sub-themes may include:
  • Links between gender (in)equality and/or women's empowerment and nutrition, health and food security.
  • Gender inequality in paid and/or unpaid (care, etc.) work within the agrifood system – stemming from formal and informal institutions and structures – that shape gendered nutrition and health outcomes.
  • Gender gaps in access to and control over productive resources that lead to gender disparities in food security, nutrition and health outcomes.
  • Gender analyses of resilience to shocks and of social protection as these relate to food security, nutrition and health outcomes.
  • Emerging issues, new conceptual framings related to gender and food security, nutrition and health in agrifood systems such as:
    • Gender-responsive nutrition interventions in agrifood systems.
    • The intersection of gender and one health.

Theme leads: Indika Arulingam (International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and Dorte Thorsen (Institute for Development Studies (IDS))

Young people are increasingly considered a distinct group in interventions seeking socially inclusive food systems outcomes. However, they are often constructed in relation to adults or stereotyped. In this theme, we invite contributions that shed light on young people as food systems actors in their own right and reflect on how food system interventions and transformations can provide productive and rewarding livelihoods for young people. Contributions that consider the intersectionalities that shape young people’s identities, social positions and opportunities, barriers and choices are particularly welcome.

Subthemes may include:
  • Young people’s engagements with agrifood systems across supply chains (food production, processing, trading and beyond).
  • Rural transitions, migration, and diverse, multi-local and multi-sectoral livelihoods.
  • Youth aspirations and how they shape interactions with the food system's livelihoods.
  • Youthful gender dynamics in agriculture, agrifood trade and/or processing.
  • Youth perspectives on intergenerational dynamics in agrifood systems.
  • Intersectionality in youth studies in agri-food systems.

We additionally welcome contributions that fall under the broad conference theme, but do not clearly fit under the six themes outlined above.

Abstract submission deadline: 23 June 2023