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Understanding and amplifying the role of women’s leadership in food systems transformation

Current food systems are unable to meet the needs of millions of people who experience hunger, miss key micronutrients or suffer from diet-related chronic diseases. They are highly vulnerable to environmental stressors, the impacts of which are borne disproportionately by members of poor households, notably women and girls and Indigenous peoples. They must be transformed to become more healthy, equitable and sustainable. This change process can be accelerated through leadership practices that focus on dismantling power hierarchies, negotiating across multiple and at times competing interests and building coalitions for collective action.

This project proposes to support change by shifting who leads food systems, and also how they lead, with a focus on women’s leadership in the Global South. It builds on the Next Gen(D)eration Leadership Collective, a global network established in 2020 that promotes the principles of active and impactful leadership practices. The first phase of the research will assess how support to this collective (such as tools for strengthening negotiation skills and expanding access to decision-making spaces) can break down structural barriers faced by women and equity-seeking groups in accessing and wielding power in food systems policy and practice. The second phase of the research will map how the type of leadership supported by the women’s collective contributes to food systems transformation in such areas as healthy food policies and resilience and nutrition in fragile food systems.

This project is part of a cohort of seven projects developed under IDRC’s Transforming Food Systems Initiative in the regions of Central and South America, and the Middle East and North Africa. It seeks to build the resilience of communities vulnerable to climate change, pandemics, and other critical shocks by understanding mechanisms through which equity-seeking groups can benefit from and drive the change process, both at the local level and at scale.

Project ID
Project Status
36 months
IDRC Officer
Madiha Ahmed
Total Funding
CA$ 1,164,800.00
Climate-Resilient Food Systems
Climate-Resilient Food Systems
Institution Country
Universidade Estadual de Campinas/University National of Campinas
Institution Country
Project Leader
Camila Corvalan
Universidad de Chile
Institution Country
Project Leader
Hala Ghattas
American University of Beirut