Integrating gender and youth

N. Palmer (CIAT)

Closing the gender gap would benefit food security and climate change

East Africa
West Africa
Latin America
Southeast Asia
South Asia
Priorities and Policies for CSA
Gender and Social Inclusion

Agriculture is the principal employment sector for 60% of women in sub-Saharan Africa, southern Asia, and Oceania, and women make up two thirds of the world’s 600 million small livestock managers. Despite this, women’s activities in agriculture are characterized by a global gender gap in rights, resources, power and productivity. Climate change exacerbates the gender gap with additional threats, which are not gender-neutral.

If women had access to resources, on-farm yields would increase by 20-30%.

In 2016, the journal Gender, Technology and Development (GTD) released a special issue titled 'Gender, Climate Change and Agriculture' that explores gender-based disparities in resource access and use, how they contribute to production differences between men and women, and potential solutions that can reduce the disparities and increase agricultural productivity. The July 2016 special issue continues the international conversation that started at a March 2015 seminar co-organized by CCAFS, the International Social Science Council (ISSC) and Future Earth.

Closing the gender gap in farming under climate change.

As farmers around the world adapt to climate change, unequal access to assets and resources is likely to prevent women from adapting at the same pace as their male counterparts. Leaving women out of the ongoing climate conversations and not developing gender sensitive climate-smart agriculture technologies and practices will be detrimental not only to women, but to entire communities.

“We often do not recognize the role of the woman as a farmer, income-earner and contributor to the economy,” Dr Thelma Paris, socio-economist and gender specialist with CCAFS, said at a roundtable discussion on enhancing the resilience of smallholder farmers.

Research shows that, in comparison to men, women have limited access to irrigation, information and communication technologies, and agro-advisory and extension services. Further, agricultural technologies do not always take into account the specific needs and priorities of women. Findings presented in the special issue demonstrate how providing women with engagement opportunities and adaptation resources can greatly reduce the gender gap (which ranges from 4 to 25 % globally) between men and women.

Examples highlighted in the special issue indicate the potential of agriculture-based innovation to strengthen and increase women’s and their communities’ adaptive capacity. As the global community continues to grabble with the challenges of climate change, especially in the agriculture sectors, development and utilization of gender sensitive and gender transformative innovations and technologies should be a key component of global efforts.


  • International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
  • International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)
  • International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)
  • Future Earth
  • Central European University
  • International Social Science Council (ISSC)
  • National University of Ireland Galway
  • World Bank

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