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Measuring progress on gender and agriculture in the 1982 and 2008 World Development Reports

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Written by Rachel Slater, Rebecca Holmes

More than two decades separate two World Development Reports (WDRs) on agriculture: the first was published in 1982, the second in 2008. In this article, we ask what these documents can tell us about the evolution of gender analysis of the agriculture sector in those 25 years, and find that at the heart of the question is a far more difficult debate: what should we realistically expect the WDR to deliver on in terms of specific policy on gender issues? Whilst WDR 2008, as expected, provides a significantly improved analysis and understanding of gender inequality and uses it as a mechanism for understanding impediments to growth, at the same time, it lacks gender analysis of some fundamental concerns, which are key to reducing poverty and promoting agricultural growth for development.

Rebecca Holmes and Rachel Slater