Climate Change, Gender and Agriculture: Implications for Policy

As the global food system adjusts to the impacts of climate change on food production, distribution, and food security and nutrition, it is important to recognize the different ways in which rural men and women are affected and their respective contributions to address the climate challenge. The session presents a conceptual framework of gender and climate change linkages, and evidence of gender differences in adaptation responses and the potential for climate-resilient agriculture to address the gender gap in agriculture. Importantly, as households adapt to a changing climate, men’s and women’s labor allocation in agriculture—which is particularly affected by heat stress— is changing. Finally, climate change and how men and women adapt to climate changes can worsen or improve nutrition outcomes. Evidence from Bangladesh shows that women’s empowerment influences adaptation decisions, with important implications for production and, potentially, nutrition outcomes.




Elizabeth Bryan, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Aslihan Kes, USAID
Elizabeth Bryan, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Conceptual linkages between gender, climate change and food systems: What does the evidence show?
Growing research on gender and resilience highlights the importance of recognizing and addressing multiple risks and disturbances that men and women face as well as the need to strengthen their capacities to respond to these in ways that increase well-being. Much of the literature on gender and resilience in the context of agricultural research for development focuses on the gender-differentiated experiences with shocks and stressors, gendered resilience capacities, and the responses of men and women from smallholder farm households to these shocks. It suggests that efforts to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment are very much aligned with efforts to increase the resilience capacities of women, who tend to be more vulnerable to or adversely affected by many shocks and stressors. Yet this literature does not yet incorporate thinking and concepts related to food systems. This paper synthesizes evidence and highlights case studies that demonstrate how resilience is gendered using a gender and resilience framework. It also proposes ways this framework may be enhanced by a food system lens.


Sophia Huyer, CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)

Scaling Out Gender Transformation for Climate ChangeThere is limited evidence of the potential for Climate-Resilient Agriculture (CRA) to address the gender gap in agriculture in a changing climate. Pathways to ensure gender responsiveness of CRA entails understanding the capacity of farmers to address climate risks (defined by their vulnerabilities and adaptive capacities), conditions that promote or limit adoption of CRA (barriers to adoptions or enabling conditions) while also assessing how the adoption of CRA, or strategies and approaches to encourage adoption of CRA, can lead to gender equality outcomes in agriculture in the wake of climate change. These outcomes then become instrumental in building the resilience of men and women farmers toward climate risks through inclusive adaptation processes. The study presents the results of a scoping review, covering focus areas, gaps and research issues, to identify conditions and outcomes that make Climate Resilient Agriculture gender-responsive. It collates data from more than 100 documents, including journal articles and grey literature, published in the last decade to highlight key trends, challenges, opportunities, innovations, and good practices in the field of gender and climate resilient agriculture. Preliminary results show that Climate-Smart Agriculture or CSA is the dominant approach to Climate Resilient Agriculture. Additionally, vulnerability is the most prevalent theme in the literature, while evidence related to gender equality outcomes of CSA adoption remains limited. The review also highlights key trends and gaps in terms of geographic focus, sector focus, intersectionality lens, and methods of data collection. The review results are expected to better inform research efforts as well as project interventions related to climate resilient agriculture.


Yeyoung Lee, Michigan State University, USA
The heat never bothered me anyway: Gender?specific response of agricultural labor to climatic shocks in Tanzania
Agricultural production in Africa is generally highly labor intensive with gender-specific specialization across activities. Using panel data from Tanzania, we examine the effects of heat stress (temperature above 29°C) during the maize-growing season on gender-disaggregated agricultural labor use. Results show that heat stress reduces total male family labor but does not statistically affect female family labor. Households with only female adults seem to increase their labor supply under heat stress. Given these heterogeneous effects, gender-sensitive development interventions and adaptation strategies are suggested to enhance women's adaptive capacity.


Alessandro De Pinto, Greenwich University, UK

Women’s empowerment and farmland allocations in Bangladesh: Evidence of a possible pathway to crop diversification
Climate change will likely affect several of the dimensions that determine people’s food security status in Bangladesh, from crop production to the availability and accessibility of food products. Crop diversification is a form of adaptation to climate change that reduces exposure to climate-related risks and has also been shown to increase diet diversity, reduce micronutrient deficiencies, and positively affect agro-ecological systems. Despite these benefits, the level of crop diversification in Bangladesh remains extremely low, requiring an examination of the factors that support uptake of this practice. This paper explores whether women’s empowerment, measured using the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), leads to increased diversification in the use of farmland. Our results reveal that some aspects of women’s empowerment in agriculture, but not all, lead to more diversification and to a transition from cereal production to other crops like vegetables and fruits. These findings suggest a possible pathway for gender-sensitive interventions that promote crop diversity as a risk management tool and as a way to improve the availability of nutritious crops.