Journal Article From gender gaps to gender-transformative climate-smart agriculture


To date, much of the research on the nexus between gender and climate has emphasized the negative impacts on women, in terms of their increased vulnerability to climate-related shocks. Women in developing countries rely predominantly on natural resources for their farming activities, household needs, and caregiving roles. For many women in these contexts, access to important resources such as credit, information, extension and agricultural services, as well as training in technology, is largely limited due to social norms and stakeholder biases. This affects their agency at home and within their communities 1••, 2•, 3••, 4. Agricultural intervention approaches have largely ignored women as agents of change [5••] as well as their capacity for — and learning in relation to — climate change adaptation, so that the root causes underpinning climate-related vulnerability persist 6, 7•, 8••. More effort is needed at the R&D-policy interface [9] to generate models that support and promote gender equity and equality in the context of the escalating climate crisis — especially when a global transformation is required to effectively strengthen food systems to respond to the impacts of climate change. If current gender and social inequality trends persist unchecked under climate change, gender gaps and existing inequalities will increase 5••, 10••, including those relating to agriculture and food security. This situation will curtail efforts in many regions to transform agriculture systems to deliver on Sustainable Development Goal targets 11, 12. We review the potential of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) to achieve gender equality and transformation outcomes that enable food system transformation for climate change resilience. This is done through an understanding of the linkages between climate-related vulnerabilities, gender equality, and social inclusion, and their interrelation with food system transformation 11, 13••. The section on Gender-driven gaps, constraints, climate-related vulnerability, and climate-risk perceptions presents the contribution of CSA toward gender equality, while also setting the background by examining the elements of gender, norms, productivity, and vulnerability that impede the application of CSA to reduce climate vulnerability. Section From gender gaps to gender-inclusive resilience highlights the contributions of CSA toward gender equality while also looking at R&D gaps that can provide further evidence for the potential of CSA to improve gender equality. Finally, Section From gender gaps to gender-transformative climate-smart agriculture discusses the approaches that can promote gender-transformative change at scale to build climate change resilience. The review recognizes that, while several definitions of CSA1 exist, the CSA concept evokes discussions that go far beyond a list of specific practices. The effective implementation of CSA practices is conceptually linked to social, economic, and political dimensions that create enabling environments in which institutions, policies, and finance are harnessed to transform agricultural systems 14, 15. These environments are affected by the differences in climate-linked vulnerabilities of women and men and their ability to derive benefits from CSA [13••]. For this reason, the review does not focus on specific CSA practices but rather on the CSA concept and how it can or cannot support gender equality and transformation outcomes to strengthen food system resilience