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Integrating gender into breeding objectives and decisions: What works, where and why?

Do you know of a plant breeding effort that is trying to have more gender equitable impact? Submit a brief description for a chance to receive a grant of USD$10,000

To help make breeding efforts more gender responsive, the CGIAR GENDER Platform seeks to identify experiences across the globe in integrating considerations of gender differences into plant breeding, to understand what worked, where, for whom, how, and why. Through this work, the CGIAR GENDER Platform seeks to share knowledge widely about common elements and lessons learnt in these experiences and thereby improve gender integration in breeding programs, with the ultimate goal of advancing gender equality.

People from or familiar with organizations that have tackled integrating gender into breeding objectives and decisions are invited to submit a brief summary of their experiences. Of particular interest are cases which describe the methods and approaches used to capture different stakeholder perspectives and how these have informed the breeding process. Using the form available online, your submission should not take more than 20 minutes to complete.


Submissions will be reviewed by an expert panel. All submissions eligible for consideration for a grant will be included in a user-friendly directory of gender and breeding initiatives designed to promote exchange and knowledge sharing among those who submit and more broadly across this field of inquiry.

If your brief is awarded a grant

Ten submitted experiences will be selected to each write a short, structured case study following guidelines that will be provided. Each selected submission will receive a grant of $10,000 US towards the cost of writing the case study, which will be a journal-length paper authored by the implementing team.  In addition to the grant, the authors will receive guidance and support for systematization from an external consultant.

Experiences documented will be published for knowledge sharing, teaching and self-instruction purposes.


Integrating social welfare objectives in plant breeding is a rapidly growing approach on a global scale and particularly in research for development, re-shaping the technical options, goals and intended impact of breeding programs. Improving the benefits delivered to rural women by implementing gender-responsive breeding is one facet of this change, generating new methods and learning. Gender-responsive breeding presents a unique opportunity to develop targeted interventions to improve outcomes for different stakeholders based on their needs and interests. This targeted approach to breeding can, in particular, better address the goals, needs and concerns of women. We hope to gather an overview of the state of the art of gender-responsive breeding and to promote knowledge-sharing among breeding programs by addressing these questions:

  • How are gender-responsive and other social-inclusion objectives implemented in breeding programs? What are the goals, challenges and expectations in those cases?
  • What methods, tools and instruments were applied to integrate gender into breeding programs?  How were these developed?
  • What type of strategies were used to integrate multi-disciplinary work into defining new breeding objectives? What were the challenges and how were these addressed?
  • What can we learn from effective practices, and from those that have not worked as well as expected?
  • How can national breeding programs, and NGO breeding efforts, best improve their gender-responsiveness?

A rich resource for addressing these questions is the compilation of experiences with gender and breeding from ten different programs and projects that was systematized and published in 2017 (GBI, 2018). This knowledge base can be expanded by documenting new efforts that have been made in the ensuing five years. Further advances in the use of gender analysis for the definition of breeding objectives and targets will benefit from taking stock of how gender has been integrated into breeding programs at different scales, in different regions and in contrasting institutional settings. It is critical to generate learning, support knowledge sharing and understand structural innovations across regional and institutional contexts. Learning distilled from the cases will be applied by the CGIAR GENDER Platform to inform ongoing projects and future integration of gender in breeding.

Who can nominate?

Nominations for cases can come from anyone who has been involved with or knows well a breeding program that purposefully made efforts to integrate gender in breeding objectives.

Eligibility criteria

Breeding experiences that meet the following criteria are eligible:

  • Concrete steps were taken to consider the implications of gender in one or more stages of the breeding cycle: for example
    • problem diagnosis, market research, definition of target beneficiaries
    • variety design
    • early or late stages of variety development, testing or evaluation
    • on-station and on farm testing
    • producer and consumer acceptability testing
    • variety release strategy
    • seed system design and development, seed dissemination
    • Program evaluation, impact assessment
  • The breeding effort is identified with at least one formal organization, such as a National Agricultural Research Institute, an NGO or NGO network, a Farmer Organization or network, a Development Agency, a Seed Company, an International Research Center, a university or other institutional configurations.
  • There are no restrictions as to the crop species involved or the geographical location

Submission process and deadlines

To participate in the call, complete the form online here. Alternatively, you can download and complete the form and submit via email to: Multiple submissions by the same institution or individual are allowed if they present different programs or experiences. The form is available in English but if you need it translated into another language, please contact the team directly to make this request. All submissions must be received by September 30th, 2022. For any questions, please contact

Timeline and next steps

  • September 30: deadline for submissions
  • September 30 – October 15: The cases submitted will be revised by an expert panel to select those that can be subject to systematization
  • October 16: Grant awards announced; directory of gender and breeding initiatives goes live
  • October 16 – November 30: Grantees receive guidelines for structuring their case study; first drafts exchanged; systematization and publication of experiences
  • December 15: Full length cases published

About the author


Elizabeth Asiimwe

Elizabeth Asiimwe is an agricultural extension professional and works at Makerere University as the project manager for GREAT.

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