Published on 03/19/18

Gender in agriculture researcher to speak at CAES International Agriculture Day Lecture and Awards

By Sage Barnard

Around the world, female farmers produce 20 to 30 percent less than their male counterparts, and experts believe that overcoming that gender gap will be key to feeding the world’s growing population.  

Students and faculty at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will turn their attention to strategies to combat agriculture’s gender gap at the 2018 CAES International Agriculture Lecture and Awards program from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on April 2 at the Georgia Museum of Art. Helga Recke, a Visiting Fellow at Cornell University’s College for Agriculture and Life Sciences’s AWARE (Advancing Women in Agriculture through Research and Education) program, will give the keynote address.

The lecture and reception are open to the public.

Recke has spent her career on the forefront of global agricultural development, studying the ways that gender impacts agricultural development and working to support education and professional development for female agricultural scientists across the developing world.

Recke’s lecture, “Efforts to Narrow the Gender Gap in Agriculture: One Woman’s Journey,” will discuss the ways that traditional and transitional gender roles impact agricultural development and how her own understanding of gender dynamics has evolved over the years.

“Helga has spent most of her career working to empower female farmers and agricultural scientists to become more self sufficient, produce more and build a more food-secure future for their families and communities,” said Amrit Bart, director for the CAES Office of Global Programs. “The wisdom she’s accumulated during those years is vital for our students and faculty who want to work in agricultural development or want to understand the dynamics of global food security.”

Some of the gender gap in farm production can be explained by women’s lack of access to credit and education, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

Helping women access the credit they need to invest in technology and fertilizers to help close the gender gap in agricultural production could help feed an additional 130 million people worldwide.

Recke joined the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Gender and Diversity Program in 2004, working to secure funding and implement fellowship programs to fast-track the careers of African women agricultural scientists. Recke also co-founded African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD), which acts as a career development program for top African women scientists. She served most recently as its science coordinator and senior advisor.

Recke’s talk at UGA will address the ways gender impacts agricultural economies around the world. She will share some of her own experiences and stories of successful collaborative efforts to close the gender gap.

The talk is intended to challenge faculty and students to think about gender’s role in agriculture, how it applies to them and how we need to move forward to build gender-responsive agricultural policies.

Each year, the CAES Office of Global Programs hosts the International Agriculture Day Lecture and Awards to encourage those engaged in international scholarship, research and outreach to build networks and recognize the college’s most globally minded students.

It’s also a chance to celebrate students who are graduating with International Agriculture Certificates. All students and faculty who are interested in international agriculture and international development are welcome to attend.

For more information about AWARD, visit For more information about the CAES Office of Global Programs or the International Agriculture Day Lecture and Awards, visit





Sage Barnard is a student writer for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Cooperative Extension.

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