The gender advantage: Women on the front line of climate change

The gender advantage: Women on the front line of climate change

This publication has been compiled to illustrate the experiences of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in their work to close the gender gap and mobilise women in climate change adaptation programmes and projects. IFAD has recently been paying close attention to this issue, and has noted that when women’s agency is promoted, the well-being of women and their families is improved.

Through this collection of ten case studies, IFAD shows how gender-sensitive adaptation results in better outcomes in food security, livelihood options, incomes, and reduced workloads. The case studies are grouped thematically under the following headings: valuing women’s knowledge and experience creates opportunities for the whole community; equitable access to adaptation knowledge; investing in women brings economic returns for smallholder farmers; equal voice, equal access to decision making; and tackling women’s worsening workloads. Case studies are sourced from various multilateral and NGO projects from around the developing world, with the majority based in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The case studies illustrate not simply positive results, but also examples of new gender-sensitive project designs.

Case studies included feature an example of early warning systems in Bangladesh, women’s self-help groups at a climate policy forum in India, and unlocking the capacities of different generations in Mali. This particular case study in Mali is an IFAD project that will use participatory methodologies to identify women and men’s local knowledge, and understand their adaptive capabilities.

IFAD argue that a holistic approach is needed to avoid unintended consequences, and that ensuring women have access to clean water and labour-saving technologies is fundamental to resolving the issue of increasing workloads. Gender-sensitive training, indicators, monitoring and evaluation, and sensitisation all underpin IFADs work; though difficult, IFAD believes that through the application of such project basics, it is possible to overcome the challenge of integrating gender into programme and project design, as illustrated in the case studies.

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