WOMEN IN AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
University of Florida
October 15, 1992
WHY, WHO, WHERE AND WHEN ?
In recent years, researchers in the
agricultural, natural and social sciences have begun
to pay increased attention to the role played by
women in agriculture around the world. The
critical involvement of women has often been
overlooked, in part because men often take the most
visible, public roles in agricultural production.
In response to this "invisibility" of rural
women, scholars from many disciplines have joined
together at the University of Florida, as well as at
other universities, to promote increased awareness
of, and sensitivity to, the roles of rural women in
the U.S. and around the world. The Women In
Agricultural Development program, one of the few
programs of its kind in American universities, seeks
to promote understanding of (1) the effects of
gender roles in agricultural production practices and
(2) agricultural development processes and their
differential impacts on women, children and men.
From the beginning, the WIAD program has
sought to focus its efforts specifically on the realm
of agriculture, in recognition of UF's strengths in
this area. The program aims to support and
develop faculty and student analytical expertise
related to the roles of women and intra-household
dynamics in all phases of agriculture in both
international and domestic contexts.
The Women in Agricultural Development
Program (WIAD) was formed at the University of
Florida (UF) in 1984 after five years of informal
activities related to women and development.
During these early years, several initiatives emerged
from the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
(IFAS) International Programs Office and from
social scientists, especially those in the Centers for
African and Latin American Studies. As a critical
mass of faculty with experience in the WIAD field
came to UF, momentum built up and led to the
creation of the WIAD program.
WIAD is currently directed by Drs. Peter
Hildebrand and Sandra Russo and has over 28
active faculty members. In the past, external
funding has been obtained from USAID,
Rockefeller and Ford Foundations and internal
funding from the Centers for Latin American and
African Studies and International Programs (IFAS).
With support from the Graduate School and IFAS,
WIAD offers two graduate assistantships per year,
allowing students to pursue studies in women and
agricultural development while providing
administrative support to the WIAD program.
PAST AND PRESENT
First started in 1983-84, a bi-weekly seminar
has been held, focusing on international and
domestic issues related to women in agriculture.
Speakers have included UF professors and graduate
students, as well as guests from other universities or
research centers. Recent speakers have been Drs.
Hilary Feldstein and Michael Collinson from the
Consultative Group for International Agricultural
Research (CGIAR). Topics as diverse as Florida
fisheries, natural resources in Ugandan national
parks, women and cassava growing in Ecuador, or
FAO's plan of action for the integration of women
in development have been addressed in the past
The Bibliography of Women in Agricultural
Development is a compilation of nearly three
thousand entries dealing with women's roles in
agricultural development. These entries can be
accessed by region of the world, country, and key
words, as well as by author and title of publication.
The WIAD Bibliography is available as a database
and in hard copy from IFAS publications.
A large number of the items cited in the
bibliography are available for consultation in the
WIAD office in Room 6, Building 810.
In 1986, WIAD held a major international
conference entitled "Gender Issues in Farming
Systems Research and Extension". The sessions
addressed specific issues of theory, method and
policy related to Farming Systems Research and
Extension in developing areas. African, Latin
American and Asian experiences were compared.
With 300 registrants coming from 20 different
countries, the conference offered an excellent
opportunity for exploring and testing new ideas and
successful approaches for incorporating gender
sensitivity in agricultural research and development.
In March 1988, WIAD co-sponsored a two-
day Seminar on "Issues in Agroforestry: an
International Perspective" with the Department of
Forestry and the Centers for African and Latin
American Studies of the University of Florida. The
second day focused on gender issues in
WIAD and Women's Studies co-sponsored
a conference on "Women and Politics in the
1990s" at the University of Florida in March 1992.
The first day focused on international politics and
women, with a panel on changes in Europe and
another on Women's Grassroots Organizations in
developing countries. The second day concentrated
on domestic politics and women.
One of the outcomes of the Conference on
Gender Issues in Farming Systems Research and
Extension was the publication, in January 1988, of
a volume of the same title with selected papers from
the conference. The overall goal of the publication
was to produce a set of readings with a comparative
perspective that would be both stimulating and
helpful to people trying to implement gender-aware
farming systems projects.
Recent publications of WIAD members
include an article by Suzanne Smith and Marilyn E.
Swisher on "Employment of Women in Florida's
Ornamental Horticulture Industry" in the Spring
1992 issue of the Florida Scientist. Articles by
Anita Spring and V. Wilde: "African Women
Farmers, Structural Adjustment Programs, and
FAO's Plan of Action for Women in Development"
and Uma Lele: "Women, Structural Adjustment and
Transformation: Some Lessons and Questions from
the African Experience: Impacts on African Women
Farmers" were published in Christina Gladwin's
"Structural Adjustment and African Women
Farmers" in 1991 by University of Florida Press.
The quarterly newsletter serves as a vehicle
to inform people about some of the research and
training opportunities available and upcoming events
WIAD organized a five day Women in
Development (WID) course in 1987, in which 50
faculty members participated. The sessions were
led by Mary Andersen from Harvard University and
Tim Broadhead from CIDA, the Canadian
International Development Agency.
In spring 1992, WIAD and the International
Training Division of IFAS held a one-semester
seminar on Gender Analysis and Training, which
trained graduate students and faculty from various
departments in gender analysis methodology and
training techniques. A training manual containing
all eight modules and related training materials has
WIAD members have provided technical
assistance to UF USAID contracts in Cameroon and
Ecuador, as well as earlier to the Farming Systems
Support Project (FSSP). Other members have
provided technical assistance through SECID
projects, as well as USAID, FAO, the World Bank,
and the CGIAR.
A Certificate in Women in Development
consisting of 12 credits at the Master's and Doctoral
levels was approved by the Graduate Council in
May 1992 and will commence with Fall Term 1992.
Approximately 15 courses (including a large
proportion of agriculture-related courses) have been
identified as having WID content.
THE FUTURE OF WIAD
This coming year the Speaker Series will
continue to offer first-rate presentations on women
in agricultural development. Up-dating the
bibliography will be another on-going project.
In April 1993, WIAD will co-sponsor, with
Women's Studies, a forum on Women and
Landscapes. For the Fall Term 1993, WIAD will
contribute to the conference organized by the
North American Chapter of the global
Association for Farming Systems Research-
Extension, to be held in Gainesville in October
Plans to modify the format of the Gender
Analysis and Training seminar to a 2 to 3 day
module are being examined in an effort to cater to
the needs of faculty members.
ITD also offers gender analysis training to
non-UF groups on a fee basis. Contacts for
potential delivery of such training courses and
seminars have already been established.
Particular attention will be given to
curriculum development, since WIAD wishes to
offer assistance (appropriate literature searches,
help from WIAD graduate assistants) to professors
of various disciplines willing to incorporate a
gender dimension in their courses and seminars.
WIAD is currently pursuing funding to be able to
incorporate not only gender, but also a user
perspective and cultural diversity into a program for
Over the last decade, researchers have made
great strides in raising awareness of the critical
roles played by women in agriculture, and the
effects that changes in agricultural policies and
practices have on women. Nevertheless, much
work remains to be done. Faculty, staff, and
graduate students at UF will undoubtedly continue
to be among the leaders in research on gender
issues in agriculture. WIAD is in an excellent
position to promote and coordinate that research and
to disseminate its results to the larger community of
scholars, policy makers, and development
professionals at UF and around the world.