Gender and farming systems
Lessons from Nicaragua

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Rome, 2005

Table of Contents

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is the specialized agency responsible for agriculture, forestry and fishery worldwide. FAO has the mandate to promote sustainable agriculture and rural development, as well as food security, for the whole population. It extends the mission to assure that women - together with men - have access to necessary resources and receive support to obtain sustainable means of sustenance and improved life quality.

First edition 1997
Second edition 2005

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal or development status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.


Frederic Devé, consultant: compilation and analysis of the project information GCP/NIC/020/NOR.

National Technical Team of the project: methodological base of the Nicaraguan's project field work

Felipe Martínez Sánchez, consultant of the project: "Propuesta metodológica de diagnóstico con enfoque de género en los sistemas de producción agropecuarios (1997)" (methodological proposal on gender analysis in farming systems)

Coordination and guidelines

Zoraida García, Programme Officer, Gender and Development Service Gender and Population Division of the FAO

All rights reserved. Reproduction and dissemination of material in this information product for educational or other non-commercial purposes are authorized without any prior written permission from the copyright holders provided the source is fully acknowledged. Reproduction of material in this information product for resale or other commercial purposes is prohibited without written permission of the copyright holders.
Applications for such permission should be addressed to:
Publishing Management Service Information Division
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy
or by e-mail to:

© FAO 2005


Executive Summary


I. Gender and systems approach: main considerations

1.1 Introduction: agriculture, gender and appraisals

Transformations in agriculture and appraisals
Transformations in gender roles and appraisals

1.2 Systemic analysis

1.2.1 Background to the basic theory of systemic analysis
1.2.2 Basic concepts of systemic analysis applied to agriculture
1.2.3 Key aspects of systemic analysis applied to agriculture

1.3 The importance of gender as an analytical category

1.3.1 Historical background
1.3.2 Concepts and gender roles
1.3.3 Gender analysis
1.3.4 Key aspects of gender analysis applied to agriculture

1.4 Some conclusions

II. The Nicaraguan experience: presentation and lessons learned

2.1 Introduction
2.2 Appraisals and surveys conducted at the municipality level

2.2.1 The Rio Blanco/Bocana de Paiwas appraisal
2.2.2 Review of Terrabona's farming and agrarian systems
2.2.3 Characterization of the municipality of San Ramón

2.3 Systemic and gender analysis at the community level
2.4 Introduction of innovations
2.5 Some conclusions

III. Methodological and procedural guidelines for carrying out systemic analysis with a gender perspective

3.1 Rapid agricultural and socio-economic survey at the microregional or municipality level

3.1.1 Methodological steps and main variables

General status of women in the municipality
Historical trends

3.1.2 Methodological guidelines and tools

Collecting baseline data and map-making
Field visits
Interviews with key informants
Presenting the results and feedback from local bodies

3.2 Systemic and gender analysis at the community level

3.2.1 Methodological steps, main variables, guidelines and tools

Establishing contact with the community and the contact persons and forming a local work team
Baseline agrosocio-economic data on the community ("learning about our community")
Social and gender characterization of the families in the community ("getting to know each other")
Characterization of the organizations present in the community ("our organizations")
Analysis of farming systems
Community problems and plan of action

General conclusion

Annex. Participatory appraisal card


Back Cover