Dr. Mariana Yazbek manages the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas International Genebank in Lebanon. Back in 2021 ICARDA published a Q&A with Dr. Yazbek that covers women in science, and really digs in on how a larger representation of women in agricultural science can improve the livelihoods for rural women.
In many cultures and settings, female farmers are simply not seen, nor heard by their husbands or their male family members. They are just labor, without recognition for their work, and have no say in important decisions related to the farm work. When a visiting researcher is male, the male farmers will not allow their female relatives to be present, and the interactions will solely occur between men. As a result, the female point of view will not be recorded. Yet she is a huge part of the farm, so from a science standpoint, the data collected will be incomplete, and any research conclusions uninformed.
But when a women researcher is visiting a village, she will speak to the male farmers, and then the male farmers will push the women at the front because they assume that a woman can interact with another woman. That way, we are able to capture female voices as well, understand their work, their challenges, opportunities, and the trade-offs they must make. And the research picture formed is complete for men and women
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