Gender Norms and Normative Change



Steven Michael Cole, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Anouk Ride, WorldFish

Balancing the canoe - community based resource management and gender in Pacific coastal fisheries 
Community-based resource management (CBRM) is an approach endorsed by Pacific leaders to achieve livelihood and conservation objectives, also recognising traditional and customary rights indigenous Pacific peoples have to their coastal and marine resources. However, women, youth and people with disabilities are marginalised from local leadership institutions across the linguistically, racially and culturally diverse region. Fisheries management is particularly vital to life as fish and other aquatic foods are key sources of protein and micronutrients for coastal communities in the Pacific as well as being a key element of livelihoods, particularly of women. As with other forms of governance initiatives in the Pacific, this exclusion can either be re-enforced or challenged by initiatives to promote local resource management. We address the need to balance asset-based approaches with objectives for advancing the role of women in fisheries decision making, by using Participatory Action Research (PAR). In 2020 and 2021, 20 Pacific Island communities (10 Solomon Islands, 6 Vanuatu, 4 Kiribati) reviewed participation in local fisheries management as part of assessing of their CBRM plans and committees. PAR approaches adapted for this purpose included facilitated discussions during which communities reflect, in several rounds, about exclusion in fishing and harvesting of aquatic foods. Qualitative data from these participatory workshops is triangulated with quantitative data on representation, social norms and attitudes. This process built consensus for more inclusion in decision-making structures, and points to how structural change at the local level may be supported by policy and practice.


Kipo Jimah and Gundula Fischer, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)

“The woman has no right to sell a livestock”: The role of gender norms in Northern Ghana’s small ruminant value chains and implications for transformative interventions
Ghana’s overall sheep and goat meat production depends on its Northern region, where medium- and low endowed farmers practice small ruminant husbandry as an important livelihood diversification strategy. However, participation in the value chains and benefits from it remain gender inequitable. Based on a mixed methods approach, we explore the gender norms that underpin inequitable relations within households along the value chains and between different nodes. Respondents comprised of livestock keepers, feed and food vendors, animal health providers, traders, butchers and feed trough manufacturers. In the ongoing process of data evaluation results indicate that men and women respondents to a great extent agree that married women are generally not capable of making important decisions by themselves and should not leave home without their husbands’ permission. Furthermore, it was seen as inacceptable for women to take up roles in livestock trade. Other aspects were more controversial such as the question whether women may reveal their livestock ownership or contribute substantially to household income. Further gender analysis will focus on how by-laws, norms and policies restrict or enable non-production actors. Insights into how gender norms (such as those above) shape access to various nodes as well as the process of translating participation into gains do have implications for value chain interventions. We offer specific recommendations for small ruminant value chains in Ghana with emphasis on gender-transformative community conversations and multistakeholder dialogues on equitable institutions.


Dipika Das, University of Southern Queensland, Australia

The impact of gender and local norms on women smallholder farmers’ bargaining in the Eastern Gangetic Plain region 
Various studies have confirmed that women smallholders have low farm bargaining power and that bargaining intention is a predictor of bargaining behaviour. However, this phenomenon has not been studied within the farm bargaining context. The main objective of this research was to examine how gender dynamics influence the bargaining intentions of women smallholder farmers in the EGP. An interpretive paradigm was employed using a qualitative phenomenological approach and case study methodology. Data were collected by conducting 35 in depth interviews with women smallholders and 17 interviews with the farmers’ bargaining opponents in the EGP region. A thematic analysis was employed to analyse the data. The findings revealed that gender dynamics and local norms embedded in power such as male privilege, gender roles and hegemonic masculinity influenced the intentions of smallholder women farmers to engage in farm bargaining. It was found that gender-related dynamics and local norms created a barrier for women to freely engage in farm bargaining. Several strategies are outlined to address the farm bargaining needs of women farmers.


Lan Chu, University of Antwerp, Belgium, and Els Lecoutere, CGIAR GENDER Platform

Empowering women in their households: A mixed methods analysis of a field experiment in rural Tanzania
The study, therefore, presents the results of a scoping review, of approximately 291 journal as well as grey literature articles related to gender and Climate Resilient Agriculture. Broad trends in terms of time, geographic focus, sector focus, use of intersectionality, and methods of data collection are highlighted. Additionally, a full text review of 154 articles covers different thematic areas within the literature including vulnerability context, climate related impacts, adaptation and gender outcomes. There has been a rise in the publications on the subject in the last few years with 75% of the articles being published during 2016-2021. Also, more than 40% of the articles are based on studies from East Africa and South Asia. In terms of themes, while much is mentioned about vulnerability towards climate change, there is limited evidence of CSA or CRA contributing to gender equality outcomes. Some of the innovative methods and tools are also highlighted. The review results are expected to better inform research efforts as well as project interventions related to climate resilient agriculture.


S. M. Faridul Haque, WorldFish

Gender dynamics: Barriers, opportunities and risks in aquaculture and agriculture sector in northwest Bangladesh
This study was undertaken with a broader objective of Identifying gender norms and practices in Northwest Bangladesh and the resulting roles that women and men take up in aquaculture and agriculture. This was be accomplished by examining gender relations and dynamics at home, community and commercial level (production, group and market), and by assessing how gender relations connect and overlap with intersectionality. To understand the current gender dynamics in northwest Bangladesh, and how these shape the barriers and opportunities for women and men to engage in and benefit from aquaculture and agriculture, this study employed a mixed and integrated qualitative methods approach. The overall findings of the study includes, gender norms and stereotypes are prevalent, hindering women’s full involvement in aquaculture and its benefits. Stereotypes entrenched structural systems of women’s subordination to men prevent men from helping women in their reproductive roles, unless women are sick or away. The cultural norms and belief systems (Islam and Hindu) on women’s abilities hinder their full participation in aquaculture. Reputation related to societal ideals on masculinity and femininity further determine what men and women can and cannot do. The study proposes several recommendations for building women empowerment in aquaculture. These Include supporting women entrepreneurs through accelerator programs from organizations and getting women involved in the aquaculture value chain. Another way is by building women’s production capacity through information, knowledge and training. Enabling market conditions for women are needed. Gender transformative approaches are needed on prevailing notions of masculinity and negative, gender-based stereotypes.