Click here for search results

About the Gender in Agriculture Sourcebook

1.       What is the Gender in Agriculture Sourcebook?


The Sourcebook provides an up-to-date understanding of gender issues with a rich compilation of compelling evidence of good practices and lessons learned to guide practitioners in integrating gender dimensions into agricultural projects and programs. Serving as a tool for guiding and showcasing key principles in integrating gender into projects, this Sourcebook aims to inspire the imagination of practitioners to apply lessons learned, experiences, and innovations to the design and investment in the agriculture sector. The Sourcebook is a joint product of the World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and a contribution of over 100 writers and reviewers.


2.       Who are the audience?


The Sourcebook targets practitioners and technical staff as the main audience and aims to provide guidance inaddressing gender issues and integrating gender-responsive actions in the design and implementation of agricultural project and programs. It speaks not with gender specialists on how to improve their skills but rather reaches out to technical expert, within international and regional development agencies and national governments, to guide them in thinking through about integrating gender dimensions into their operations. The Sourcebook can also be an important resource to the research community, academe, and nongovernmental organizations working on agriculture and rural development.


3.       Is it consistent with the messages of the WDR?


The Sourcebook echoes the messages of the WDR2008. Technical experts working on agriculture and rural development issues in the three partner organizations contributed and reviewed the different modules. It expands the main messages of the WDR2008 and is considered as an important tool to facilitate the operationalization and implementation of the WDR’s key principles on gender equality and women’s empowerment.


4.       How is this Sourcebook different from others?


The agriculture sector is rapidly changing, with new opportunities and challenges for reducing poverty and ending hunger. Markets and demand for agricultural commodities and advances in agricultural knowledge and technology are changing rapidly, and these changes require stronger need to unleash the full potentials, strengths, and complementaries of all key players, both women and men. However, women’s lack of access to productive resources, collective action, political voice, and limited mobility hinder their optimal participation into these emerging markets. This in turn leads to low agricultural growth and food insecurity in many countries.


Factors outside of the sector, such as widespread environmental change and climate change, are also altering agricultural potential throughout the world.  The composition of rural households is changing considerably as a consequence of HIV and AIDS, with deaths of young adults and farm households left in the hands of children and grandparents with subsequent impacts on agriculture. Migration, arising mainly from poverty or prompted by natural disasters or violent conflict, now forms a dynamic force, changing the landscape of the rural population. In some regions, men more than women are likely to abandon agricultural work at home and migrate first to seek income in other sectors. Women are being left to carry the full burdens of agricultural production, but often with no legal protection or rights to property ownership. All these changes present new challenges, opportunities, and entry points in addressing gender disparities and empowering women.


This Sourcebook provides an up-to-date analysis and timely resource in understanding the challenges and opportunities for women and men in the context of rapidly changing agriculture sector. The Sourcebook is not a primary research product, advocacy piece, or toolkit; it capitalizes on the real development experiences of task managers and operational staff in designing and implementing gender-responsive agricultural projects. The Sourcebook synthesizes in one place knowledge, experience, and tools, which are currently scattered in many different places using a unifying framework on sustainable livelihoods. This framework looks at (1) access to and control of assets; (2) access to markets; (3) information and organization; and (4) capacity to manage risk and vulnerability through a gender lens.


5.       What are the sources of good practices and innovative activities?


The Sourcebook draws on a wide range of experience from donor agencies, governments, institutions, and other groups active in agricultural development. However, in this first edition of the Sourcebook, the initial contributions draw mainly from the World Bank, FAO, and IFAD experiences. The themes and topics covered in the Sourcebook   tried to be comprehensive but were constrained by both the availability of materials and specialists and experts willing to contribute examples and share experiences. The Modules generally address the priority issues within a thematic area or areas in which operational guidance is needed, but important gaps exist that should be filled in future editions. Migration, rural-urban interlinkages, biofuels, genetically modified foods, agricultural finance, and food safety are a few areas only briefly mentioned in the Sourcebook that need to be more thoroughly addressed in future updates.


6.       Does the Sourcebook consider the contextual realities and heterogeneity of regions and countries?


The Sourcebook also brings forth the diversity and heterogeneity of the poor and their communities. The context—who they are, where they are, and what they do—matters in how effectively gender integration and development goals are achieved. Particular attention is paid to regional differences, policy environment and governance structure in the Sourcebook. It recognizes that projects with gender components will be effective only if current structures are in place and that transformative approaches and changes in institutions in many instances are necessary to break the structural gender-related constraints in societies. The Sourcebook aims to look at modes of providing support to the rural poor that best fit the specific structural conditions and development priorities of their area or country instead of the one-size-fits-all strategies that were adopted in the past in some cases. It presents cases studies highlighting countries and projects with promising approaches and innovative activities, which aim not to be adopted in all contexts but to inspire the imagination of practitioners to apply lessons learned, experiences, and innovations to the design of agricultural investments and programs as applicable to their specific context.


7.       What is the scope of the Sourcebook?


The Sourcebook focuses on agricultural livelihoods, with agriculture defined broadly as “agriculture, forestry, fisheries, livestock, land and water, agro-industries, and environment,” following the FAO definition. The Sourcebook is grounded in the notion of agriculture’s central role in providing rural livelihoods, food security, and broad-based poverty reduction. Although the Sourcebook focuses on the agriculture sector, it is also aware of the fluctuations of agricultural livelihoods so that poverty reduction and rural development requires a holistic approach. Both nonagriculture-specific sectors, such as rural finance, rural infrastructure, and rural labor with a reference to agriculture-driven activities, and social protection policies are addressed in the Sourcebook. The Sourcebook addresses agricultural livelihoods in specific investment or programmatic areas of the World Bank, FAO, and IFAD. The Modules are selected based on themes of cross-cutting importance for agriculture and rural development with strong gender dimensions (policy and governance; agricultural innovation and education; food security; product and input markets; rural finance; rural infrastructure; water; land; labor; natural resource management; and crises) and specific subsectors in agriculture (crops, livestock, forestry, and fisheries). A separate module on monitoring and evaluation is included, responding to the need to track implementation and development outcomes.


8.       How will the Sourcebook be used?


The team is doing an extensive dissemination effort to reach out practitioners and policymakers. Within the World Bank, FAO, and IFAD, the team plans to have a road show to the different regional offices and selected country offices to raise the issues and discuss entry points for putting the messages of the Sourcebook forward. Some of the modules of the Sourcebook are already being pilot-tested and adopted to integrate gender-responsive actions in the design of actual World Bank agricultural projects. The team plans to expand this initiative to cover all the 16 modules. In addition, joint training and learning events are also being envisioned using the Sourcebook as a key resource for staff of the World Bank, FAO and IFAD and technical experts in client countries. Several partner organizations, such as IFAD, CIDA, DANIDA, and IADB, are using or have expressed their interest and plan to use the Sourcebook in their agricultural operations.

Back to Home Page


Permanent URL for this page: