Learn how the World Bank Group is helping countries with COVID-19 (coronavirus). Find Out

Levelling the Field: Improving Opportunities for Women Farmers in Africa
October 29, 2014Washington, D.C.

This seminar presents the main findings from 'Levelling the Field: Improving Opportunities for Women Farmers in Africa,' a new report on Africa's gender productivity gap. Drawing on new data and research from six countries, the report first documents the magnitude of the gender gap and pinpoints its drivers.

View Event Recording

Although women account for a large share of Africa's farmers, they tend to produce less per hectare than men. Closing this output gap by increasing women's agricultural productivity could yield substantial benefits for their families, communities, and countries. There is, however, a need for better evidence on why the gender gap exists and what works to close it. This seminar will present the main findings from Levelling the Field: Improving Opportunities for Women Farmers in Africa, a new report on Africa's gender productivity gap. 

Drawing on new data and research from six countries, the report first documents the magnitude of the gender gap and pinpoints its drivers. A key finding is that equalizing access to productive resources such as labor or fertilizer alone will not fully close the gender gap: Effective policies will also need to tackle the gender gaps in returns to those resources. The seminar will also highlight emerging policy options for closing the gap, based on rigorous evidence from impact evaluations and other research. Follow the discussion on Twitter with #gendergap.


Kathryn E Russell, Policy Director, Agriculture and Inclusive Growth, ONE Campaign

Michael O'Sullivan, Economist, WBG Poverty Global Practice


Eija Pehu, Advisor, WBG Agriculture Global Practice


Caren Grown, Senior Director, WBG Gender Group

Eija Pehu

Eija Pehu serves as the Science Adviser in the Agriculture Global Practice of the World Bank. She is also the anchor for gender mainstreaming in agriculture operations, and coordinator of the Gender in Agriculture and Rural Development Community of Practice in the World Bank. Prior to joining the Bank she was the Professor of Agronomy and Head of the Department of Plant Production of the University of Helsinki, Finland. Eija Pehu got her B.Sc and M.Sc degrees from the University of Helsinki and her Ph.D from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Michael O’Sullivan

Michael O’Sullivan is the Land Thematic Leader for the World Bank's Gender Innovation Lab and an Economist in the Poverty Global Practice. He analyzes the impact of agriculture and land projects in Africa to identify ways to strengthen women's economic empowerment. His current research centers on issues of gender in the economic sectors in Benin, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Niger, and Uganda. Michael previously worked on USAID projects for Chemonics International and Mercy Corps, and served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Burkina Faso. He holds a Master's degree from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.

Caren Grown

Caren Grown is an internationally recognized expert on gender issues in development. Prior to joining the Bank, she was Economist-In-Residence and co-director of the Program on Gender Analysis in Economics at American University (AU) in Washington, DC. In 2013-2014, she led the UNU-WIDER program on aid effectiveness and gender equality, an international effort which resulted in 22 commissioned papers and a global synthesis. During 2011-2013 she took leave from AU to serve as Senior Gender Advisor and Acting Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), where she crafted the Agency’s Gender Equality and Female Empowerment policy and led efforts to implement it in systems and programs.

Formerly, she was Senior Scholar and Co-Director of the Gender Equality and Economy Program at The Levy Economics Institute at Bard College, Director of the Poverty Reduction and Economic Governance team at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), and Senior Program Officer at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. She contributed to placing gender equality and female empowerment at the core of the MDGs as Senior Associate of Task Force 3 of the UN Millennium Project.

As the longest-serving member of the External Gender Forum of the Asian Development Bank, she advised on many aspects of mainstreaming, research, and results measurement. Dr. Grown’s recent books include Taxation and Gender Equity, co-edited with Imraan Valodia (Routledge 2010), The Feminist Economics of Trade, co-edited with Irene Van Staveren, Diane Elson, and Nilufer Cagatay (Routledge 2007), andTrading Women's Health and Rights: the Role of Trade Liberalization and Development, co-edited with Elissa Braunstein and Anju Malhotra (Zed Books 2006). She is the author (with Geeta Rao Gupta) of Taking Action: Achieving Gender Equality and Empowering Women (Earthscan Press 2005) and co-author with Gita Sen of Development, Crises and Alternative Visions: Third World Women's Perspectives (Monthly Review Press 1987). Her articles have appeared in World Development, Journal of International Development, Feminist Economics, Health Policy and Planning, and The Lancet.

Dr. Grown was an Associate Editor of Feminist Economics (2007-2014), a founding member of the International Working Group on Gender and Macroeconomics (GEM-IWG) (1993-2007), and a member of the Women and Gender Equity Knowledge Hub, Commission on the Social Determinants of Health (2006-2007). She holds a PhD and MA in Economics from the New School for Social Research and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Event Details
  • When: 12:30-2 p.m. ET
  • Where: World Bank Headquarters, Room MC 4-800
  • CONTACT: Sarah Jackson-Han
  • sjacksonhan@worldbank.org