Supporting women farmers in a changing climate: five policy lessons

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Kenyan women farmers attend a participatory session, aimed at understanding differential roles, responsibilities and gender-differences in perception of climatic changes. Photo. C Schubert (CCAFS)
(view original)
Oct 15, 2015

by

Vanessa Meadu (CCAFS Coordinating Unit)

New policy brief shares five lessons on how to support gender inclusive interventions for agriculture and food security.

Every day, rural women around the world play a critical role in our global food system, particularly women in least developed countries. Climate change demands new approaches to agriculture: farmers’ practices will need to change in order to adapt to and mitigate changing conditions. Gender is central to this change: policies, institutions and services to help farmers deal with climate change will need to produce results for women farmers as well as men.

A new policy brief provides five lessons to support gender inclusive interventions for agriculture and food security, based on evidence and case studies from research in low- and middle-income countries. The brief also offers guidelines for crafting gender-responsive climate policies at global and national levels.

Recommendations cover adoption of new technologies and practices; design and implementation of extension and climate information services; women’s role in developing climate-smart innovations and improving climate change policies and institutions. 

Key messages

  • New technologies and practices for climate change will be adopted more successfully when they are appropriate to women’s interests, resources and demands;  

  • Extension and climate information services need to serve women and men;  

  • Institutions need to take into account women’s priorities and support their adaptive capacity; 

  • Women’s capacity as farmers and innovators needs to be recognized and supported; and 

  • Climate policy processes should go beyond numerical representation of women to create active mechanisms to express opinions, take initiatives, and influence decisions. 

Gender-responsive climate policies and programmes include:  

  • A gender component as a qualifying criterion to access international funding. 

  • Design that is informed by needs assessments that distinguish women’s and men’s needs and priorities. 

  • Monitoring and assessment indicators of real change in gender and social inclusion.

Video: 'Closing the gender gap in farming under climate change' Voices from six leaders

The brief is based on research led by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the University of Copenhagen, the University of North Carolina, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Bioversity International, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the International Potato Center (CIP), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), 3d4AgDev, Oxford University, and Kumaun University.  

The research was presented in March 2015 at a seminar in Paris on ‘Closing the gender gap in farming under climate change’, co-organized by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), the International Social Science Council (ISSC) and Future Earth. Visit the event webpage for full details and further resources.

Download the brief

Huyer S, Twyman J, Koningstein M, Ashby J and Vermeulen S. 2015. Supporting women farmers in a changing climate: five policy lessons. CCAFS Policy Brief no. 10.