7 ways that gender matters in western Honduras

Editor’s note: This blog post by Janelle Larson was originally a presentation given at the Horticulture Innovation Lab’s 2017 annual meeting in Guatemala.

Larson is an associate professor in agricultural economics at the Pennsylvania State University and leads the Horticulture Innovation Lab project focused on empowering women through horticulture in Honduras.

portrait
Janelle Larson, Penn State associate professor, who leads a Horticulture Innovation Lab project

Gender norms define the roles and responsibilities of women and men at the individual, household, community and societal level. We have found this to be a factor in western Honduras where patriarchy permeates many aspects of life.

Our findings indicate how gender norms influence and pervade seven different key aspects related to our project:

  1. Gender matters in agriculture
    In agriculture production, women’s work is often unrecognized and under compensated. Women’s participation in production — mostly in harvesting and the processing phases of high-value crop chains — is relatively large. According to our household survey conducted in 2016, nearly 20 percent of women in our study area work as day laborers, often for coffee harvest, and approximately 6 percent of women work in their family fields. Women are also heavily involved in home garden production. They are responsible for approximately 54 percent of the activities of home garden production, which is mostly for home consumption.

    Young woman and old woman talking in plastic chairs
    Gender matters in household decision making: A Zamorano graduate interviews a woman as part of a survey of more than 500 households in Western Honduras.

Continue reading 7 ways that gender matters in western Honduras

9 tips for incorporating gender into a research project

From the leaders of our new gender-focused project, of Penn State and Zamorano universities, here are some tips to get you thinking about gender-responsive projects:

group photo: Arie, Janelle and Leif
From left, Arie Sanders of Zamorano, Janelle Larson and Leif Jensen (both of Penn State) kicked off a Horticulture Innovation Lab project focused on gender equity and the horticultural value chain in Honduras.
  1. Incorporate and mainstream gender considerations from the inception of the project. Avoid “add and stir” approaches to gender, that is, simply adding gender as a factor without thinking through the range of ways it might infuse your work. A full incorporation might have impacts on decisions about staffing, scheduling time “in the field,” timing of outreach efforts, connecting with “gatekeepers,” and designing gender-specific activities.
  2. Be aware of the cultural context. Constraints that women (and others) face vary between and within societies, regions, localities and households.
  3. Be attentive to interactions between gender and other categories such as race and ethnicity, social class, and life-stage.
  4. When evaluating a specific intervention or issue, give careful thought to sampling design to ensure meaningful participation of women. Continue reading 9 tips for incorporating gender into a research project