Gender, Equity and Social Issues

© FAO/22953/J. Koelen

Climate change poses new challenges to already-vulnerable populations. FAO recognises that it is essential to develop an understanding of how men and women are differently vulnerable to, and able to cope with climate change impacts. FAO works to integrate this knowledge into climate change policy in order to make it more effective and able to reach its goal of helping the poor to adapt. Rural men and women’s ability to protect themselves from climatic changes threatening their food security at household and community levels depends on the resources they have; by addressing the inequality between men and women’s access to resources, FAO’s work in fisheries, forestry and agriculture can contribute to better adaptation practices and more sustainable livelihood coping strategies.

Glossary of key gender terms


Talking to Farmers

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and local Indian institutions in Andhra Pradesh are currently addressing the gender aspects of coping with climate variability and longterm change within the project Gender-sensitive Strategies for Adaptation to Climate Change: Drawing on Indian Farmers’ Experiences.

The project captures how men and women farmers in drought-prone and flood-prone districts perceive  and respond to inter-annual climatic variability and long term changes in climate through participatory  focus group discussions and a quantitative survey. These accounts, combined with institutional analysis and meteorological analysis, are used to characterize the climate risks men and women farmers are  facing and their coping strategies for food security.

Visit the project webpage.
Download a Summary of Project Findings. [missing document label] 


FAO proposes mainstreaming a gender perspective into the policy design process to achieve the goals of eliminating hunger and poverty. By understanding men’s and women’s activities, responsibilities and resources and by using participatory approaches drawing on local knowledge, policy makers can develop more effective strategies to address the hardships created by climate change.

See related publications below.

Public Awareness

FAO brings together diverse stakeholders to promote awareness of the ways in which men and women are differently affected by a changing climate. FAO also aims to facilitate wider understanding of the different contributions men and women can make to address this global challenge by organising open events such as International Women’s Day or World Food Day.

See related web story.


Training Guide for Gender and Climate Change Research in Agriculture and Food Security for Rural Development 15 July 2013 The guide is an important resource for development professionals and researchers working with households and communities. The objective of the gender and climate training guide is to address the lack of information on how men and women adapt to, and mitigate climate change. The Participatory Action Research methods and activities of the guide help ensure that gender is reflected in research activities and outcomes. The guide will help promote gender-sensitive adaptation and mitigation activities in projects for agriculture and food security. A gender-sensitive approach in agriculture is crucial to ensure that all people are supported to respond to climatic challenges. [more]
Invisible Guardians: Women manage livestock diversity 8 November 2012 This publication presents an analysis of women’s role in the sustainable use, development and conservation of animal genetic resources. The importance of small-scale famers and pastoralists as custodians of these resources is well recognized, but has never previously been disaggregated by gender. The differential roles of men and women have largely been neglected in studies of animal genetic resources management, but by piecing together several strands of argument and indirect evidence it can be concluded that women are the main guardians of livestock diversity. [more]
Farmers in a changing climate. Does gender matter? 8 October 2010 This report presents the findings of research undertaken in six villages in two drought-prone districts of Andhra Pradesh, India, Mahbubnagar and Anantapur1. The study, carried out by an international team led by FAO, used gender, institutional, and climate analyses to document the trends in climate variability men and women farmers are facing and their responses to ensure food security in the context of larger socio-economic and political challenges to their livelihoods and well-being. [more]
FAO. 2008. Gender and equity issues in liquid biofuels production. Minimizing the risks to maximize the opportunities 24 March 2010 The production of liquid biofuels is rapidly increasing in developing countries, due mainly to the establishment of large-scale biofuel feedstock plantations1. This results in potential socio-economic benefits, particularly in terms of agricultural employment, as well as risks, which tend to be context-specific. This paper explores the potential gender-differentiated risks associated with the large-scale production of first-generation liquid biofuels. [more]

last updated:  Wednesday, December 5, 2012