Report reveals low participation of women in agricultural research

The 2014 ASTI report reveals that for a sample of 37 sub-Saharan African countries, only 22 percent of all agricultural researchers are female. Southern African countries employed comparatively more female researchers, whereas women’s representation in agricultural research in West Africa, as well as in Eritrea, Ethiopia, and DR Congo, was particularly low, at 10 percent or less.

“The new ASTI data show that the share of women researchers aged 40 or younger is twice the share of agricultural researchers in their 50s and 60s, which could indicate a shift toward greater gender balance over time,” says Nienke Beintema, co-author of the 2014 ASTI report.

“AWARD recognizes both the need and potential for increased participation of women scientists and agricultural researchers at higher levels of policy making,” says Marco Noordeloos, AWARD’s acting Deputy Director for Outreach and Learning. “This is why we have invested in the career development of nearly 1,000 women scientists and professionals in sub-Saharan Africa.”

African women continue to face unique challenges when pursuing careers in agricultural research, and ASTI’s latest study reaffirms the potential that a program like AWARD holds to strengthen their careers and increase their influence in the sector.