IRRI: Women in Rice Farming


Photo credit: IRRI Images/Flickr

"Gender relations and division oflabor by gender vary by country, agroecosystem, socioeconomic status, cultural norms, degree of mechanization, and availability of male labor. Women contribute at least half of total labor inputs in rice production in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa."  - Thelma Paris, Socioeconomics and gender specialist, IRRI


Manila, Philippines—On Thursday, August 8, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), hosted a large-scaled exhibit and open dialogue event, Women in Rice Farming. Held at the IRRI headquarters in Los Banos, the program discussed relevant women’s issues pertaining to their participation in the productive sphere and their significant contribution to rice farming and food security at large.

Situated in an emerging hub for agricultural science, the IRRI headquarters welcomed its guests with a breathtaking 300 hectare lush green landscape teeming with fields of various crop types used for study and experimentation.

Marking the start of the program, IRRI Board Chairperson Emerlinda Roman delivered her opening remarks by citing the current socio-economic situation of Filipino women and the vital role they play in rice research and education. This was given further emphasis as speakers Hon. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat of the DA, Ms. Ana Liza Ragos of the PCW, presented statistical data on women engaged in agricultural activities and the concerted efforts of the private and public sector in ensuring proper gender mainstreaming in their work field.

As we moved on to the main activities of the program, IRRI escorted the guests to a series of field tour and marketplace exhibit showcasing their ongoing research, inventions and initiatives in the Philippines.


Photo credit: IRRI Images/Flickr


The Marketplace exhibit presented IRRI’s continuing work on rice breeding products, women-inclusive rice research, international gene bank, nutrient manager, healthier rice and grain quality and nutrition. Experts and scientists interacted and shared their newest approach on these topics coupled with actual demonstrations and materials.


Photo credit: IRRI Images/Flickr


Capping off the second half of the program was an interactive field tour which led the guests to IRRI's long running rice research site which stretches into an expansive field dedicated mainly to various cropping experimentations and treatments. The guests were later on introduced to IRRI’s most advanced farming machineries that are energy sufficient, time-saving and most importantly, women-friendly.

As we shift focus toward a more inclusive paradigm for women, it is high time to put on our gender lenses and create opportunities that will reduce gender disparities in access to technology, training and development which, in the long run will elevate the status and lives of women particularly, women farmers.