A new research reveals women’s lack of ownership of productive land, and access to agriculture service organisations in West and East Africa are indeed affecting their ability to build a climate-resilient future.
The capacity to adapt to climate change, and sustain livelihoods, relates to the extent to which people interact with, and benefit from, social support institutions, government and NGOs, the study argues.
A significant difference between male and female farmers is that women tend to work and join organisations that are based within the local community, while men are better connected with groups that work beyond the locality.
In addition, the study reveals that men, more often than women, are usually in a more favourable position to deal with, and benefit from governmental agencies, international NGOs and even private enterprises. Via these institutions, men often get technical assistance, subsidized tools, seeds, fertilizers and improved livestock breeds, water pumps, cash incentives for communal work and much more. More importantly, men get to play a role as mediators with those organizations, and often speak to them on behalf of women.
The real challenge is how do we overcome these anti-women biases by public and private agencies that foster agriculture and livestock production?
The role of gender norms in climate adaptation
Gender norms will play a big role in shaping how well households will be able to adapt to a changing climate. But these norms do change, and sometimes they do so very quickly.
Sharing the findings and issues raised here with these communities is one way of spurring more widespread dialogue within and across communities, and with local and national policymakers, about the need to take gender-differences seriously. This if climate and agriculture programs and projects are to have a real, long-term impact for both men and women farmers.
Cecilia Schubert: CCAFS