Ask Agnes Namukasa about sustainably managing fisheries in Kachanga, the lakeshore landing site she calls home in Uganda’s Masaka District, and you will soon learn about toilets. From her perspective, community members won’t address conflict between government enforcers and fishers, competition among neighboring villages, or pollution threatening aquatic ecosystems until they can first organize to address their most pressing daily needs.
In a keynote at the CGIAR Integrated Systems Research Conference earlier this year, I suggested that researchers might look at gender as a leverage point in development. This idea comes from systems thinking, which is—in very simplest terms—a way of approaching an issue that sees the “thing being studied” as part of a larger set of elements that interact in multiple ways to shape outcomes.
Vicki Wilde, Senior Program Officer at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation guest blogs about the challenges and inequalities that continue to face women scientists. There is no shortage of literature, both academic and mass media, documenting the importance of women’s advancement in the sciences, including the agricultural sciences. Bringing more women into scientific careers serves to do more than symbolically close a gender gap. It brings a wider variety of experiences and views that can greatly benefit scientific research and development as well as society.