Perspectives on Gender Roles in Enhancing Food Security in Kenya’s Drylands
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Gender roles are indispensable in improving quality of life, food production and addressing food and nutrition security issues. Sustainable agriculture and economic growth is undermined by limited appreciation of gender roles in implementation of strategies towards realization of food security. Notably, the input of women in food production and value addition often goes unnoticed and often remaining hidden because of societal hindrances. This review paper examines the contemporary perspectives on gender roles in enhancing food security in Kenya’s drylands especially before and during the CoVID-19 crisis to inform post-pandemic policy, strategy and action. The review justifies the need for gender mainstreaming in distribution and uptake of both subsistence and commercial roles in agricultural value chains towards enhancing food and nutrition security. However, overreliance on rainfall, poor agronomic practices and recurrent drought are reported to inhibit the realization of the full potential of sustainable agricultural production and consumption. This implies the need to promote gender mainstreaming in policy and decision making on food security and nutrition issues including; resource use and allocation, value addition to major food crops, adoption of sustainable agricultural practices and post-harvest strategies, empowerment of women through agricultural education, extension and linkage services and creation of awareness on opportunities and women’s rights in the food security value chains both during and post-CoVID-19 crisis period. It is, however, important to recognise women as effective agents and actors in relation to both climate change mitigation and adaptation as to avoid emphasising a misleading notion of women as a homogenous group of vulnerable victims within the development discourse.