Gendered science: A critique of agricultural development

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The paper questions the gender bias in paradigms and programs of agriculture research. The author argues that even though women's knowledge in farming practices is crucial to agricultural and social sustainability, their voices remain unheard. The author sees scientific knowledge as inseparable from its wider sociocultural, political, and economic context, therefore knowledge is not impartial or value-neutral. These assumptions are based on feminist literature recognizing and valuing diversity, which sees science and its practices as a process that includes multiple actors. Many natural scientists see gender, class and ethnicity as relevant to their work. They recognize that socioeconomic and political processes have implications for technology transfer and adoption of these technologies. Still, not many see how these influence the problem of identification or technology development process. By highlighting differences between and among men and women and farmers the feminist analysis is challenging the erroneous assumption that women and/or farmers are a homogeneous group. Feminist perspectives focus on the different and multiple ways of knowing, it presents a range of alternative ways of knowing, sources, and of relationships. To illustrate these points the author uses a case study in Malawi.


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Local knowledge, Women, Gender, Agriculture, Gender bias, Agriculture research, Women's knowledge, Case studies, Malawi, Ecosystem


American Anthropologist 96(3): 540-552