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Gender and Inclusion Toolbox: Participatory Research in Climate Change and Agriculture

Rural women head one out of five farms across the developing world, but produce less than their male counterparts because of the persistent inequalities that frame their experiences.
image from Gender and Inclusion Toolbox


Climate change is a social issue. As the world moves towards climate smart responses that bridge food security, resilience and mitigation of green house gasses (GHGs), practitioners and researchers face the challenge of doing so through socially relevant and gender-sensitive approaches.

We know that a gender equity gap exists in agriculture and that this gap shapes how men and women contribute, respond and adapt to climate change. Rural women in particular head one out of five farms and comprise of 40% of agricultural labour across the developing world (FAO, 2011), and yet produce less than their male counterparts because of the persistent inequalities that frame their experiences. Women’s insecurity over land access and tenure, lower political representation and decision-making power in rural governance, lack of access to financial capital, level of empowerment, barriers to participation in trainings and extension services and many other challenges exist in the path of promoting gender equitable adaptation and development. Building resilience within this context is a matter of understanding how gender norms and relations, along with other critical factors such as caste, class, age, disability and sexual orientation all affect differences in access, power and decision making in regards to adaptive capacity.

In order to support a more inclusive climate smart agenda relevant for both men and women, this Toolbox assumes several key points:

  • Data should be sex-disaggregated (when relevant) to recognise women as individual farmers rather than counting them as de facto members of a household.

  • The type and level of social-differentiation used should be based on the objective of the study and the climate change development program that it informs.

  • Gender and social inclusion should be integrated from the research and programme design phase rather than relying on mainstreaming at a later point.

  • Building capacity in gender and social analysis is important for both upstream and downstream practitioners in an organisation.

  • A participatory approach to research can support jointly-produced knowledge that reflects more accurately the different needs, challenges and opportunities for women, men and vulnerable groups.

The objective of the Toolbox is to support programme designers and field practitioners in doing gender sensitive and socially inclusive research. The toolbox is divided into four main parts and includes a) An overview of concepts in gender, climate change, participation, qualitative research, and gender and social analysis; b) Team-based learning and reflection activities to support gender and inclusion concepts; c) A logistics and planning guide supporting sampling strategy, sex-disaggregation, and field work best practices; and d) Participatory research tools covering Co-Production of Knowledge, Climate Resilient Agriculture, Climate Information, and Mitigation for socially differentiated data collection and analysis. The Toolbox is in modular format, and each activity can be used on its own or sequentially according to the user’s needs.


C. Jost, N. Ferdous, T. D. Spicer, 2014. Gender and Inclusion Toolbox: Participatory Research in Climate Change and Agriculture. CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), CARE International and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). Copenhagen, Denmark.

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