This paper presents the findings of a review undertaken on gender and the adoption of agroforestry in Africa. The concept of gender as used in this paper is not about women, but rather as an organizing principle in society, which is used as a process and practice of taking into account the differences between men and women in the course of designing and implementing development projects. The aim is to come up with strategies that challenge gender imbalances, thus ensuring that both men and women are able to make decisions, access resources equitably, hold positions and benefit from development initiatives such as agroforestry. Particular emphasis in this paper is given to women who despite farming remain disadvantaged in the agricultural sector due to cultural, socioeconomic and sociological factors. Such factors include ownership and access to resources, land tenure systems, access to education and extension services, among many others.
The synthesis presented in this paper puts particular emphasis on women’s involvement, highlighting their motivation, the benefits they receive and the challenges and successes experienced relative to men. The review examined 104 studies of gender and agroforestry. The review was guided by seven research questions:
- What is the proportion of women participating in agroforestry?
- Are women able to manage agroforestry practices, that is, carry out the needed operations?
- What are women’s preferences in relation to tree attributes?
- Do women benefit from agroforestry and how?
- Do women have access to agroforestry information?
- Are women involved in agroforestry product markets?
- How do we promote efficient participation of women in agroforestry with greater benefits accruing to them?