ISAAA: Women drive biotech initiatives

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AS THE world celebrates the International Women’s Day (IWD) 2018, more women are speaking up for their rights, equality, and justice.

With the theme “Time is Now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives”, the United Nations Commission puts a focus on the activism of rural women, who make up over a quarter of the world population, and being left behind in every measure of development.

According to a study conducted by ISAAA in China, India, and the Philippines, women play a significant role in biotech crop farming.

In India, the male farmers take charge of the farm activities that require physical labour, but women take an active part in farm operations such as weeding, picking, and cleaning.

In China, there has been a growing feminisation in cotton farming. Field work is mainly conducted by women, which enable the men to engage in off-farm tasks.

Based on focus group discussions, the reduction in pesticide use and less labor requirement of planting GM crops benefitted women.

In the Philippines, women take charge of managerial tasks such as budgeting farm expenses, deciding on inputs, and hiring laborers to work on the farm.

These indicate that women who are engaged in biotech crop farming experience transformation because of the value they provide to their family farm operations and the benefits that they get from the technology.

ISAAA and its network of Biotechnology Information Centers (BICs) are also actively pursuing to encourage women to speak up about the benefits of biotechnology through the social media campaign #ScienceAndShe on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Female scientists and science communicators who are involved in biotechnology share about their experiences and aspirations to help bridge the gap between science and the public. Visit the page at www. facebook.com/scienceandshe