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Part II: Papers presented

Part II: Papers presented

1. Placing gender

Margaret Skutsch

1.1. From women in development to gender and energy

Objectives of the module

The objectives of this module are to help participants understand that there are many different approaches to the women and development issue and these have different implications for deciding the most appropriate actions to take, both in terms of the types of interventions made, and in terms of the planning procedures adopted.

By the end of the module, the participant will be able to name the major stages through which thinking on women in development has progressed and link these with typical energy policies and interventions. The following terms and concepts will be familiar.


The module consists of two lectures, each with exercises attached, which together should take a half day.

The first lecture and exercise should take more than half of the whole time allocated.


Lecture notes for the trainers are provided. These may be copied for the participants if so desired. Exercises will be found at the end of the package. Trainers notes are included.

1.2. Understanding the WID/GAD matrix

1975 was declared the international Year of Women by the United Nations. The first UN Conference on Women and Development was held in Mexico City in 1975 under the motto 'Equality, Development and Peace'. At this conference, the objectives for the first UN Decade of Women (1976-1985) were set: equality between the sexes was to be achieved within the framework of changed relations between North and South. In 1985, to mark the end of the first Women Decade, a second UN Conference was held in Nairobi. A much larger number of women from the South attended this conference and made their voices heard. At the time of writing, we are heading for the third UN Conference on Women and Development, to be held in Beijing in

September 1995. What have twenty years of Women and Development brought us? What has been achieved, and what is still lacking?

There are many different approaches to the 'women and development' issue. This paper aims to give an overview of these different approaches and relate them to the energy sector. As we will see, different approaches have different implications for the kind of energy policy that is adopted and the energy interventions that are selected. Note that the approaches are not placed in or implied to represent a hierarchy of correctness. Instead, attention is directed to what is perceived as 'appropriate' to different situations in different countries at any point in time.

The paper has the following structure: First, an historical overview of approaches in the 'women and development' debate is presented (Essentially, the debate started off in the early seventies within the women in development (WID) movement, with special emphasis on women, environment and development (WED), and has gradually developed into a gender and development (GAD) approach). Then, the theoretical framework outlined is applied to the energy sector. We try to determine which findings are especially relevant to the energy sector, and their implications for the energy policy that is adopted. The paper concludes with an extended bibliography.

1.3. From WID to GAD: A historical overview

Women in Development

Over the last years, the subject of women and development has received increasing attention from both scientists and practitioners. Since the early seventies, donors and NGOs have regarded women as a special target group and have directed aid towards them in various ways. The mode of aid delivery has been influenced by dominant analytical approaches towards the subject of women and development. Throughout the years, there has been a progression in thinking. However, this did not include a dramatic shift of paradigm: different approaches reflect different view points and angles rather than different dogmas. Up to today, many different approaches can be seen in the field. This section distinguishes between various approaches and gives an overview of the 'cycling of ideas' in order to enable us to identify the line of thinking behind policies and projects in the field of women and development.

Different phases within the women in development (WID) movement can be identified (Moser, 1989). The first idea, which came even before the official recognition of women as a special target group, was to start special programmes for women, which where primarily welfare oriented; they were designed to assist women in their traditional tasks, in the reproductive sphere. Programmes were aimed at women's practical needs like health, nutrition and family planning, but not at making women self-sufficient. Women were seen as passive recipients, as victims of underdevelopment. This charitable approach was present, in missionary development work during the colonial period for example, long before WID became fashionable.

In the mid seventies the notion of equity between men and women became important. It was recognised that almost all aid had unconsciously gone to men, because they were thought to be heads of the households and, according to this line of reasoning, helping the households meant helping the women as well. This view proved too simple: many households appeared to be headed by women instead of men and it became apparent that benefits did not trickle-down to women as expected. Various international among them the UN Conference (1975) mentioned earlier, were held, which succeeded in raising consciousness and placing women's issues more firmly on the agenda of donor agencies. Two new women's agencies were created under the UN umbrella: UNIFEM and INSTRAW. Resolutions were made by donors to treat men and women on an equal basis in their projects, for example in agriculture, and address the strategic needs of women in addition to their practical needs'. In practice, many difficulties were experienced in doing so. All in all, the equity approach represented a political move, initiated by feminist movements in the USA, and was not all that popular in most developing countries.

The basic needs approach took the view that provision of basic needs to poor people would increase their ability to develop themselves. When the donors adopted this strategy, more funds were directed to the welfare of the poorer strata in society. Women were seen as primary beneficiaries, and both women-specific and women-integrated projects were implemented, most of which weal targeted to meet practical needs rather than strategic needs. Many studies were also made at this time to document the situation of women, particularly in rural areas. Most of the donor agencies set up special women-in-development bureaux within their central administrations to monitor such developments and to stimulate consciousness within their organizations. The women's issue in development circles thus became more and more stripped of its originally feminist nature (the equity approach) and became inextricably linked with poverty alleviation in the South (Hausler, 1993).

Taking the basic needs approach as a starting point for their policy, donors began to hold the view that women should be included in projects on efficiency grounds: poverty alleviation can be achieved more efficiently when women are included from the start. Involvement of women was no longer considered morally correct only, but practically important as well. After all, women were doing most of the work in agriculture, so they should deliberately be integrated into ongoing projects. This approach is also called the instrumental approach, because it sees women as human resources for development. The term mainstreaming is used to indicate that women should be integrated into general projects for practical needs, on a par with men, in addition to having special projects for themselves.

The last phase identified in the WID approach is that of empowerment. In contrast with the other views, this view has mainly been inspired by Southern women. Historically based inequalities have to be broken by strengthening and extending the power base of women. Policies and programmes will have to meet the strategic needs of women to make a change for the better, including land rights, land titles, access to resources, education and employment. The concept of empowerment concerns the general emancipation of women. This line of thought is further pursued in the concept of autonomy, in which the equity and independence of women are the objectives of projects and programmes.

Women, Environment and Development

Women, Environment and Development (WED) as a theme came up in the early seventies, in the context of the debate on Southern women's roles in economic development. The accelerating global economic problems, the debt crisis, the increasing environmental destruction and the overall feminization of poverty in the South started off a debate on the specific and cumulative effects of these processes on the poor, and especially on women. The WED approach was initiated from within environment-related disciplines such as forestry (fuelwood energy) and agriculture. At that time, there was an increasing awareness of the effects of environmental degradation worldwide, marked for example by the publication of the study of the Club of Rome in 1972, in which the long term effects of population growth, production growth, exploitation of mineral resources and pollution were combined in a number of future scenarios. In that same year, a UN Conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm. At this occasion, the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) was called into being. In 1987, the World Commission on Environment and Development (better known as the Brundtland Commission after its chairman) forwarded its report. The Commission advocated the need for the world to move toward sustainable development which was defined as: "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". The Commission also initiated the idea of holding a world conference in which both environmental and developmental problems would be addressed. In 1992, this UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) was held in Rio de Janeiro. A major parallel event, the Non Governmental Organization Forum (Global Forum) in which over 3,200 NGOs participated, also took place in Rio. It is in this context, that the WED approach took a firm shape.

Jackson notes that WED differs from earlier work in WID in the following ways: "It [WED] is not led by academics, it is very anecdotal... and not concerned to establish clear evidence or strong arguments but it takes its position as self-evident and it is characterized by a strong presumption that women have an affinity with the environment" (1993, p.1948). Rural women are recognized as important victims of environmental degradation. The effects of deterioration hit women hardest: the subsistence of their families and households, for which they are held responsible, is endangered. As women develop new coping strategies to continue to carry out their survival tasks, their work load is often increased. Take the example of energy supplies. Seventy-five per cent of rural energy supplies (and 90% in Africa) comes from biomass such as fuelwood, crop residues and manure. Fuel collection, as long as it is not commercialized, is mainly a task for women, with some help from the children. As the ecological situation deteriorates because of deforestation, women have to spend more time and (human) energy collecting fuel. Depending on the ecological characteristics of the area in which they live, women may spend up to five hours a day on fuel collection (Dankelman & Davidson, 1987). New coping strategies, for example the use of alternative energy supplies such as dung and crop residues, can lead to further deterioration of the environmental situation by affecting the soil fertility. The poor in the South have no choice but to destroy their own environment: they are trapped in a vicious circle.

Apart from characterizing women as the main victims of environmental degradation, WED emphasizes the special bond that exists between women and the environment: women are seen as the privileged bearers of a special knowledge imported to them by nature. According to this view, women are assumed to be caring, nurturing and selfless beings committed to both future generations and the environment. Local women, as de facto environmental managers, have taken the lead in environmental protest actions. The Indian Chipko movement is one of the most quoted examples, as is the Kenyan Green Belt Movement. The WED approach is propagated by many NGOs, both Southern and Western based. Some key documents which demonstrate the features of WED thinking were produced at the NGO Forum of the 1985 UN Conference in Nairobi. Bottom-up, people-oriented development has to be stimulated in order to reach sustainable development, and women, with their 'healing hands', are prominent actors in this matter, according to this way of thinking.

A more radical line of thought within WED is pursued by the ecofeminists who have attempted to integrate different factions of feminism as well as Southern critiques of these factions, spirituality, and the ecology movement. Ecofeminism encompasses an important criticism of the Western industrial growth model of development, which has dominated the global scene for so many years. It is felt that both women and the environment have suffered from the effects of the male-dominated growth model, and that an alternative path of development will have to be taken instead (Shiva, 1989). The concept of ecofeminism is based on the claim that there are connections between the oppression of nature and the oppression of women and that understanding these connections is necessary to understand the oppression of both. Feminist theory should include an ecological perspective, just as solutions to ecological problems must include a feminist perspective. This line of ecofeminism is pursued by the 'Development with Women for a New Era' (DAWN) network. This group of Southern-based female researchers, that first met in India in 1984, criticizes the Western development model from the experiences of poor women from the Third World. The group also criticizes the WID approach as being 'paternalistic'. DAWN members formulated their own ideas regarding women's development within the framework of an alternative model of development, and presented these ideas at the UNCED Conference in 1992.

Gender and Development

In the past few years, the expression 'women in development' has gradually been replaced by the term 'gender' in the development literature. Instead of restricting itself to women only, a gender perspective takes into account the division of work and benefits between women and men: it aims for a conscious redistribution of these not only in productive activities but also within the household. Because men and women have different positions within the household and different control over resources, they do not only play different and changing roles in society, but also often have different needs. This role and need differentiation is the underlying rationale for gender analysis and planning, which has as its long term goal the emancipation of women. The GAD approach tries to counter the almost universal tendency to make the following generalized assumptions, which are far from confirmed by empirical reality:

Gender analysis helps to undermine this short-sightedness by differentiating between needs and interests of both men and women. With regard to the third assumption, for example, evidence shows that in most low-income households in the Third World, women have a triple role: their work does not only include reproductive work, the childbearing and rearing responsibilities, but also productive work (secondary income earners) and community managing work, concerning the provision of items of collective consumption, undertaken in the local community in both urban and rural contexts (Moser, 1993). Although the tasks and responsibilities of women are not restricted to the reproductive sphere, their access to and control of resources such as land, trees, machines, credit etc., remains limited. Improving this access and control, which are now unequally divided between the sexes, concerns a strategic need of women, which can be identified by gender analysis.

Planning for low-income rural women in developing countries must be based on their interests, or, their prioritized concerns. Gender analysis tools are helpful instruments in identifying gender interests and needs. Gender analysis involves the collection of gender-disaggregated data, concerning:

and, in the case of energy interventions:

Now that we have gained some insight into the various approaches to the subject of women/gender and development, let us consider the implications of these different ways of thinking for interventions (projects and programmes) in the energy sector.

Gender and Energy

The oil crisis in the early seventies ushered in an era of higher energy costs. This, and the rising awareness that energy sources are exhaustible, underlined the need for more globalised energy planning. For developing countries, the picture was gloomy. These countries, including many oil exporters, would need ever larger amounts of energy in the future owing to increasing population growth, urbanisation and industrialisation. In 1983 the World Bank estimated that developing countries needed to invest about 4% of their GDP annually in order to meet projected energy needs over the next ten years (Cecelski, 1987). However, so far the impact of higher energy costs has been softened by large reserves of 'free' wood and other biomass fuels (dung, crop residues). As mentioned earlier, 75 to 90% of total rural energy supplies comes from biomass in developing countries. Households are the largest users of biomass fuel, but many governments are now looking to biomass and wood cultivation and crop residues as new sources of energy for modern industry and transport as well. Overall, more than half of the total energy consumption of poorer countries is believed to consist of traditional fuels, especially wood.

Deforestation and desertification are among the most serious consequences of this reliance on 'free' biomass fuels. And agricultural productivity often falls since the growing use of tree, crop and animal residues decreases the soil fertility. Both crop yields and the capacity to support livestock are reduced. Men are forced to leave the land in search of seasonal work or work in the towns. These 'environmental refugees' swell urban populations and intensify the pressure on rural food and biomass resources. The 'rural energy crisis' hits women hardest (Agarwal, 1986). Women are largely responsible for subsistence food production and must increase their own labour input as productivity decreases. Time and effort spent on collecting fuel and water, two traditional tasks of women, increase. According to Cecelski: "Women have little choice but to work more,... cut down on family living standards and try to squeeze more output and income out of the land, thereby contributing to the destruction of the ecological base - a vicious circle" (1987, p.42).

The energy crisis of biomass fuels in addition to the energy crisis of fossil fuels is now commonly understood. However, the incorporation of gender issues into the energy sector has not proceeded far as yet. The vast bulk of energy assistance goes to the formal sector. Over 50% of the DAC energy budget is spent on conventional power projects including thermal plants and hydroelectricity. For the World Bank, this figure is 80% (Skutsch, 1994a). Although 'sustainable development' has been adopted as an overriding goal by donor agencies, this has not led to a major shift in their energy policies towards relieving the daily energy problems of rural women. In accordance with Agenda 21, more emphasis is given to the choice of (cleaner) technology in new power plants, to upgrading technology in old plants and to building up energy institutions.

Most new elements in the policy primarily concern the building of planning and management capacity in the energy sector of the recipient countries, but the development of new and/or renewable energy sources, although it certainly falls under the general umbrella of the new environmental aims, still receives a very small proportion of energy spending.

To support rural people in their daily struggles and to come to terms with the increasing shortage of wood energy, donor agencies have developed several strategies, which however take up a minor part of the energy budget. 1 Women have become the main target group for wood-saving stove programmes and eventually also of rural afforestation programmes. Donors however tend to define the subject of 'women and energy' as 'women and firewood': no attempt is made to look into other energy end uses apart from cooking and other household activities. There is also a large group of energy end uses which do not involve fuel but human energy (the larger part of which is women's energy) in exhausting physical tasks. These include, for example: the drudgery involved in fetching fuel and water, the transport of which mostly takes place away from the recognized transport network; the increase in female agricultural labour as a result of male migration and food processing (grinding grain). Cecelski (1992) concludes that one of the most damaging concepts in conventional energy studies is the exclusion of metabolic human (and animal) energy from consideration. Since the human energy provided by women to carry out their traditional tasks is left out of donor considerations, most of women's activities are not energy sector concerns. If the energy end uses mentioned above were taken into account, other types of projects would be identified (a technical intervention to reduce drudgery could then be considered as an energy project).

1 Programmes for household cooking technologies and other small scale alternative energy devices are supported by a large number of donors but their share in overall energy spending is very small, less than 2% of the DAC energy budget in the period 1979-1982 (Skutsch, 1994b).

1.4. Bibliography


Braidotti, R., E. Charkiewicz, S. Hausler & S. Wieringa, Women, the Environment and Sustainable Development: Towards a Theoretical Synthesis, Zed Books Ltd., 1994

Dankelman, l. & J. Davidson, Women and the Environment in the Third World: Alliance for the Future, Earthscan Publications Ltd. London, 1988

Hausler, S., Women, the Environment and Development: Twenty Years in Retrospect, Vena Journal, 1993

Jackson, C., Doing What Comes Naturally: Women and Environment in Development, World Development, vol.21, no.12, 1993

Rodda, A., Women and the Environment, 1991


Harcourt, W., Feminist Perspectives on Sustainable Development,

Shiva, V., Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Development, 1989


Moser, C., Gender Planning and Development: Theory, Practice and Training, Routledge, 1993

Hombergh, H., vd, Gender. Environment and Development, 1993

Gender and Energy

Agarwal, B., Cold Hearths and Barren Slopes: the Woodfuel Crisis in the Third World, Zed Books Ltd., 1986

Borg, B., van den, Women's Role in Forest Resource Management: a Reader, FAO Regional Wood Energy Development Programme, Bangkok, 1989

Cecelski, E., Energy and Rural Women's Work: Crisis, Response and Policy Alternatives, International Labour Review, vol.126, no.1, 1987

Cecelski, E., Practical Strategies and approaches to Gender Issues at Planning Stages in the Energy and Water Sectors, paper presented at a seminar 'Women in Water and Energy Development in Nepal', November 17-22, 1991

Cecelski, E., Women, Energy and Environment: New Directions for Policy Research, IFIAS working paper GSD-2, 1992

ESMAP, Women and Energy: the International Network: Policies and Experiences A Resource Guide, World Bank/UNDP Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme, 1990

Groen, B. & C. Huizinga, Have Planners Understood The Poor People's Energy Problem? Social-Economic Aspects of Energy Technologies, a literature review, TDG, University of Twente, 1987

Nyoni, S., Energy: Lessons from Zimbabwean Experience, working paper no.22, ZERO, 1991

Parikh, J.K., Gender Issues in Energy Policy, unpublished paper, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Bombay, n.d.

Skutsch, M., Gender in Energy: How Some Maior Donors See It, TDG, University of Twente, 1994a

Skutsch, M., Integrating Women in Energy Assistance: Which Way Forward?, TDG, University of Twente, 1994b

1.5. Annex 1: Exercise on gender, development and energy


The purpose of this exercise is to help the participants become more aware of the underlying aim and effects of projects which are designed to help women: to distinguish those that have a charitable or welfare mission, but which are not really aiming to change the basic conditions under which women live, from those which are striving to emancipate women from subordination.

This is of course a sensitive subject and many participants may have strong views either in favour of, or against emancipation. The trainer must not take sides here and try to promote the virtues of one approach versus another: he/she must remain as neutral as possible, trying to explain that the different positions are all reasonable ones, and that they depend on underlying values and norms. The trainer may find it difficult to conceal his/her own personal values and norms, but must try very hard to do this. The purpose of the lecture and the exercise is not to preach but to demonstrate to the participants that many different approaches are possible, and that every project carries (often implicit, unstated) assumptions about what the underlying values and norms are.

Allow at least half an hour for the participants to complete the table, working in pairs. Examples of answers which might be given are provided overleaf, but the participants may name many specific projects with which they are familiar. In presenting the answers in plenary session you may need to allow time for participants to explain briefly the nature of such projects for the benefit of the other participants.

The role of the trainer in the plenary session is to question the answers provided, to play the role of 'Doubling Thomas'. For example, if a participant claims that a certain stove building project, carried out by an NGO, was intended to emancipate women because it reduced the amount of smoke in combustion, the trainer should say: "Now, I agree with you that it is an excellent thing to reduce smoke. Many women suffer enormously from smoke pollution, and three times a day at that! But does removal of smoke from the kitchen really emancipate women as such?" - and he/she should appeal to the whole group for comments on this, so that discussion may ensue. It may be that the participant who proposed the project may go on to justify his/her point, for example by saying that the real purpose of the stove project was to create jobs for poor women and make them into 'professional' stove builders, with an income of their own and much more freedom of movement than they formerly had - or another participant may mention such a project with which he/she is familiar elsewhere. Encourage such debate and try always to highlight the contrasts in aims between projects which on the surface may seem to be similar.


Many energy projects have a 'women's' component, or at feast 'helping women' is mentioned as a specific goal. During the lecture it was pointed out that there have been many different approaches to women or to gender in development, which have rather different underlying philosophies and aims. This is reflected in the choices made at project level in a sector such as energy. A project which provides free improved cooking stoves to women is based on a very different philosophy about women and their needs than one which gives a women's group land so that they can cultivate trees, for example, although superficially the idea may be to save natural forest resources in both cases.

On the attached pages you will find a table in which the different stages in thought about women (or gender) development are presented. They are shown roughly in the chronological order in which they were developed, but it was never the case that one approach displaced another and there are examples of most types to be found in projects operating today. In the second column, examples are given of the types of rural development projects typically implemented under each of these approaches. The third column is blank. The idea is to fill it with projects in the energy sector which might be considered for each of the approaches. This might be actual projects with which you are familiar, or it might be general types of projects.

This course is primarily concerned with wood and biomass energy, but you may want to add projects which deal with other forms of energy, particularly if one of the aims of such projects is to reduce dependence on wood and other biomass resources.



Typical projects

Typical energy projects

Welfare Approach

Programmes aimed at practical needs, targeted especially to 'needy' women, who are seen as passive recipients (charitable approach)

Interventions for traditional female domestic roles and tasks

• nutrition classes

• sewing classes

• family planning

• …


Equity Approach

This was essentially a political movement, stimulated mainly by developments in the USA in the 1970s (anti-discrimination in job opportunities, equal pay for equal work etc). It is based on the idea that women should participate equally with men in everything, thus they should be 'mainstreamed' in all projects. Also, the equity principle stresses the need to meet women's strategic needs as well as their practical ones.

There have been very few projects or programmes which aim at equity. There are however policies such as compulsory education for girls as well as boys, abolition of dowry, equal right of inheritance which are equity based, but these may be difficult to implement in local situations.


Basic Needs Approach

Projects and programmes targeted to meet practical needs, on the basis that women need to have their basic living requirements fulfilled before they can participate in development activities

• Mother-and-child-care programmes

• Vegetable gardening

• Provision of piped water


Efficiency Approach

Project and programmes both mainstreaming or integrating women into general projects, and special projects targeted only to women. The purpose is not specially to benefit women, but to involve them because unless women are involved, the projects designed for general community benefit are likely to fail.

• Agricultural extension directly addressed to female members of households (as well as males)

• Projects to support subsistence food cropping as well as cash crops


Empowerment Approach

Policies and programmes to meet strategic needs, which is to say education, legal and political rights, and women's use of these; also mobility, and the self-confidence of women.

Most interventions for empowerment have been at the policy level rather than at project level

• Land rights and inheritance

• Rights for widows and divorcees

• Quota systems for political committees and university entrance

Often the law is far in advance of the actual practice, because of conservative attitudes locally


Autonomy Approach

The aim is to give women much more freedom and independence in all walks of life. Thus the autonomy approach is an extension of the empowerment idea, but in adopting it, a sponsor is saying that all programmes and projects, for all aspects of development, must pass certain equity/independence criteria, and none must worsen the position of women in the social, economic or physical spheres.

Projects are similar to those under empowerment, i.e. aiming to meet strategic needs of women. Officially, all projects of all types should be scrutinised to make sure that they do not involve a worsening of women's position.


WED Approach

Women have a special relationship with the environment, which is very different from men's, and more 'sustainable' Programmes and projects should use their special skills and indigenous knowledge about the natural environment. In doing this, a better overall outcome can be attained, in addition to catering to the special needs of women.

• Support to development should be directed through existing women's organizations

• Support to programmes in which women are seen as the ones primarily responsible for environmental protection

• The need for gender-sensitive data is increasingly being recognized, i.e. use of and access to resources needs to be carefully analyzed both at inter and at intra-household level. Such data is required in the project proposals approval process



Conventional development is bad for the environment and bad for women. Ecofeminism rejects the goal of economic growth, and proposes instead that women will manage the environment for subsistence, resulting in sustainability.

There are few operational projects of this kind, but the idea is to empower women to manage the natural resources, which will result in sufficiency in subsistence requirements, low consumption levels, low growth rate, and ecological balance.


GAD/GED Approach

It is recognised that it is useless to tackle problems of women without seeing them in their context: that of division of work, access and power between men and women. The whole system needs to be dealt with, not just the women's part. The subordination of women to men is generally the key; there is a need to clearly establish how and why access to and use of resources, and tasks, are divided M/F.

• Use of gender analysis rather than emphasis just on women's role, when assessing projects: in using gender disaggregated data the aim is not just to describe the situation (data analysis) but to explain it

• Designing gender sensitive projects does not mean that special projects need to be set up but that all projects need to consider their gender aspects.


1.6. Annex 2: Notes on different approaches

Welfare approach

Interventions for traditional female domestic tasks, with the aim to reduce drudgery, are often based on simplistic assumptions, such as:

Equity approach

Basic needs approach

Efficiency approach



Women, environment and development (WED) approach

Ecofeminism approach

Gender (GAD or GED) approach

2. Planning to gender in energy

Margaret Skutsch

2.1. The fundamental purpose of a gender approach in energy planning

In the previous lecture we have seen that the understanding about how women should be involved in development has itself evolved over time. The current preference is to think not in terms of special or separate programmes for women, but in terms of gender. There are still a number of different positions however that can be taken regarding the reason for and purpose of a gender approach in energy planning.

Gender for Efficiency

Many energy planners are increasingly aware that their projects have been less than satisfactory, and have interpreted this in terms of failing to understand the needs of the people concerned. For a number of years it has generally been accepted that participation is a fundamental requirement for project success, because it is understood that a proper understanding of people's needs and priorities can only be gained through a participatory process. Similar to this is the notion that each gender has its own requirements and its own constraints which need to be taken into consideration. A gender approach ensures that these needs and constraints are at least understood by the planners, which should enable them to design better project and programme interventions.

The film "Gender Analysis for Community Forestry", produced by the FAO Forests, Trees and People programme is a good example of this approach to planning with gender. In the film the different roles and requirements of men and women are explained, and we see how the project is modified to suit these requirements.

This approach to gender makes no attempt to change the basic roles which men and women play. It accepts the status quo and maximises project efficiency by ensuring that the project is sensitive to these roles.

Gender for Equity

At the other end of the scale there are energy planners who see the gender approach primarily as one which highlights inequalities in society, and which stresses the fact that in almost all societies women are subordinate to men in most respects. The purpose of applying gender analysis is, in this view, not to increase the success of projects by fitting them more closely to people's current needs, but to change the status quo: to meet not just the practical needs of women but to help them meet their strategic needs and to give them more power relative to men. The gender analysis is used to identify the most serious blockages to women's control over resources, to document the conditions under which women work relative to men, and to propose changes which benefit women.

Intermediate Positions

Most energy planners find themselves between these two extreme positions. Most energy planners, particularly in the area of wood energy, are more than aware of the enormous burden carried by women, literally and figuratively, as regards the daily supply of household fuel. Increasingly planners are also becoming aware of the fact that solving woodfuel supply problems is difficult for women because of their lack of rights to land: it is often much more difficult for women to plant trees than for men to do so. Most planners are also aware of the inequalities as regards labour inputs in agriculture (women provide the bulk of agricultural labour worldwide) and the 'triple role' of women, which means that on top of agricultural work they have all their housework to do too. In other words, it is almost impossible to deny the fact that women have a relatively hard time compared to men in rural life - and from there it is a relatively short step to taking the position that this is unfair and something should be done to improve their situation vis-a-vis that of men.

Changing the relative status and rights of women however means interfering in social practices which are considered to be culturally determined, which raises the fear that many positive cultural values will be lost as well. Some societies are much more willing to make fundamental changes as regards women's position than others and the energy planner, whatever his/her own personal views on the subject, will have to be very sensitive to the realities and the potential for change. In some cases it is a big step even to accept that women have practical needs which are different from men's, and need to be consulted concerning what these needs are. In other cases this is well understood already and the energy planner may be in a position to initiate deeper changes, for example by increasing women's control over certain natural resources.

The point is that awareness of gender, and use of gender based planning procedures, can help the planner whether the aim is efficiency or whether the aim is equity; and in most cases, the aim is in fact somewhere in between.

2.2. How the gender approach fits into the overall planning approach

Another point of discussion in gender and energy planning is whether the inclusion of gender issues is a relatively simple matter or whether it requires a complete overhaul of the planning procedures and a rethinking of planning theory. There are proponents of both positions.

The 'Add-Gender-And-Stir’ Position

Many planners feel that gender is a socio-economic variable just like many others (class, income group, ethnicity etc) and that if proper data on gender is made available, gender can simply take its place alongside these other variables. This position is one taken by many planners who feel that the basic model of planning they use should not be changed, whether it is based on a rational comprehensive type of planning ideology or on socialist principles or on participatory procedures.

The 'New Paradigm For Gender Planning' Position

In contrast to this a growing number of planners feel that the old models of planning are so firmly based in the idea of the household as the basic unit in society and the man as the primary decision maker, that totally new models will have to be developed if gender is to receive the attention it deserves. Such views are held both by planning theorists of the far left, who have tried and apparently failed to integrate a feminist angle into marxist theory, and by planning theorists of the right who support the principles of market economics and capitalism as the engine for development. Indeed theorists of all political persuasions are engaged currently in developing new planning models in which it is hoped that gender will be the central issue. One example is represented by the ecofeminists who are working from a quite different set of assumptions about what development is; starting from a new theoretical base they will presumably eventually develop planning procedures which reflect this. Other writers, for example Moser (1993), stress the need for a 'new paradigm' but so far outputs have been more procedural than theoretical. One of the difficulties with approaches such as that proposed by Moser is that while gender is central to the planning procedures adopted, many other important issues environment, class, technical options etc. are completely left out of consideration.

Intermediate Positions

It is of course very possible to take an intermediate position between these two extremes, and in the short term at least it is likely that most planning agencies in the energy field (as in other areas) will be more concerned with how to modify their planning methods to incorporate gender than with designing totally new methods. The matter of immediate and practical concerns are: what types of planning procedures should be introduced, and at what points in the planning cycle?

2.3. Alternative ways of embedding the gender approach in planning

Even if (as is usually the case) the choice is made to modify existing planning procedures to incorporate gender rather than scrapping the whole system and starting again, there is still some choice available as to where and when the gender procedures will be inserted.

Using Gender Analysis As A Filter

A parallel might be made with environmental concerns. In many agencies Environmental Impact Statements are compulsory for all project proposals and these are made following a standard procedure and with specified types of data. Once the EIA is made, it is reviewed and should the impacts on environment be found very severe, the project must be modified, or may even be rejected totally. The format of the EIA is fixed, but generally the decision to modify or drop the project is made by a committee or in consultation with staff and people concerned. It is possible to envisage the gender component of planning in a similar way; to see gender analysis as a 'sieve' or filter through which all project proposals should go before approval. Thus projects are not deliberately designed with gender as a primary concern, but some degree of equity is assured because all projects have to pass a 'gender test', so to speak.

Not surprisingly perhaps, use of gender analysis in this way is most often found in conjunction with the 'add gender and stir' approach.

Building Gender Into The Project Cycle

Another approach which has been taken by some agencies (for example, it is proposed by SADC TAU, the energy agency for the southern African countries, as a model for all national energy planning agencies) is to work through the project cycle ensuring that gender issues are considered at every stage. This is akin to the 'wearing of gender specs': it involves consciously seeing the gender aspects of the development process as it is going on, and the gender impacts of potential interventions. This is a more thorough going approach to incorporating gender issues, and it means that a variety of different planning tools or analytic frameworks will be needed for use at different stages and at different levels of data aggregation. The result will be that gender considerations may be creatively taken into account from the very beginning of the process (problem identification and project formulation) and not merely used to filter out 'poor' projects. It presupposes of course that the agency concerned already uses the project cycle method and sticks to this rigorously, which is by no means always the case even when agencies claim to use the project cycle as their basic planning procedure.

Building Gender Into Other Planning Procedures

Some agencies base their planning procedures on other models such as the Logical Framework or ZOPP, or possibly around computer based energy models which predict supply and demand etc. In principle there is no reason why gender issues should not be incorporated into such models, whether they are used at the beginning of the planning process to identify potential interventions or at the end to evaluate them. The important thing is to set up a procedure involving the use of gender analytic and planning tools such that they fit into whatever planning model is already in use. In this way the gender issue is 'mainstreamed', and not kept apart as a separate (possibly omittable) procedure.

Reading material attached: SADC Guidelines for Gender in the Energy Project Cycle.

2.4. Reference for further reading

Moser, C.O.N. (1993) Gender Planning and Development: Theory Practice and Training. London: Routledge, especially chapter 5 'A new planning tradition and methodology'.

2.5. Annex 1: Exercise on planning models


This exercise can be done in small groups of mixed national origin. There is unlikely to be much variation between countries as regards the basic project planning procedure used but try to group people so that within any group the members use the same type of model.

For part 2 there may be more variety but this is all to the good, since it will allow discussion of differences within the groups. It is probable that most participants will find the idea of disaggregating energy supply and demand by gender strange, difficult, and probably also not cost effective (most models work on basis of households as consumption units). One of the reasons to dissagregate in this way would be to highlight the role women play with regard to energy (both supply and demand side). Discussion on this point might usefully be coupled and compared to discussions regarding the incorporation of women's household work into National Accounts, a move which is now being promoted by various international agencies and adopted in some countries in the region (in principle).

1. What model does your agency use as the basic procedure for planning wood energy projects?

2. What model does your agency use for national or regional level energy prediction and forecasting?

3. Gender analysis tools

Govind Kelkar

3.1. Introduction: The need for gender analysis

Woodfuel and other biomass sources have become increasingly inaccessible to women due to large-scale environmental degradation and the inability to sustain rural energy sources (see box 1). There are two major features of such an energy crisis: women in poor, rural households are affected more than others, leading to an increase in the amount of labour they devote to collecting woodfuel from longer distances; and there is a diversion (and eventual scarcity) of organic materials, like cowdung, dry leaves, and crop residues, from other uses, such as fertilizing fields, with possible adverse consequences on agricultural fertility.

Over the past few decades, a number of innovative measures have been introduced to solve the woodfuel problem. These measures have been of three main types:

Reportedly, these measures have had poor results, largely because, as for instance in the case of improved stoves, the specific needs of users (women) were not taken into account in formulating such solutions; and the improved stoves were new ways of cooking and not just another piece of equipment. In the more successful cases, however, it was noted that in the design and construction of energy-saving equipment there was a high involvement of users or women (Bina Agarwal, 1986). More importantly, where there is higher opportunity cost of women's labour, there is demand for improved stoves to reduce cooking and fuel collection times.

Thus, whether a community or household does or does not seek greater efficiency in fuel use depends on decisions by woodfuel users, i.e. rural poor women. They will decide on the basis of factors like: How and to what extent will their labour be saved? And, what are the alternate uses of that labour in non-domestic, income-earning activities and the consequent impact on household welfare and their own social position?

The praxis of such a policy demands the application of gender analysis to the woodfuel case.

3.2. Gender analysis

Paying attention to Gender Analysis means recognizing that households are not solitary units with undifferentiated labour, resources and incentives; but in fact are made up of women, men and children who may share, complement, differ or be in direct conflict in their need for, or interest in, improved technologies.

Box 1: The Search for Fuel in India

Energy surveys in the country show that in an average semi-arid village, a woman walks as much as 1,400 kilometers a year - the distance from Delhi to Calcutta - to collect firewood alone... The situation is much worse in hill and mountain regions such as the Himalayas and in the arid regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat.

As firewood becomes scarce, people scrounge around for cow dung-a valuable source of manure which literally goes up in smoke. But today even cow dung is scarce.

Given the energy crisis, people improvize in a thousand different ways to collect this very basic need of cooking energy. In many places, crop residues such as arhar sticks and cotton sticks are being used increasingly for fuel. But with a difference. Crop residues, unlike most trees and weeds, are a private resource... And today they are being used as a bargaining counter by the landed. In Jalna district in Maharastra, where cotton sticks are an important fuel, we were told that landowners had refused to increase farm wages by threatening to stop giving the free supply of cotton sticks to the laborers. In many other places today, crop wastes are given in place of wages.

In West Bengal... people have no option but to burn leaves. Every morning, women walk to the nearby forest and literally sweep the ground with brooms to collect every fallen leaf to take home. But these bundles of leaves, after hours of back-breaking work, will disappear in cooking just one meal. Leaves are such poor quality fuel that women are forced to shove in leaves every minute to keep the fire going. The situation... is so bad that we found a four month old plantation... being swept clean by young girls.

As the environment degrades, women have to spend an extraordinary amount of time foraging for basic household needs such as fuel, fodder and water. It does not matter whether they are young, old or pregnant. There are no Sundays or holidays. It is a job which takes place, day after weary day, year after weary year.

“Between Need and Greed, the Wasting of India; the Greening of India” (1987), Anil Agarwal in The Fight for Survival. People's Action for Environment. Edited by Anil Agarwal, Darryl D'Monte and Ujwala Samarth, Centre for Science and Environment.

Gender Analysis quickly gained a foothold in international development agencies in the late 1980s. The major tools of Gender Analysis were derived from either the Harvard "WID Analytical Framework" (1985), or the Development Planning Unit of London College and the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC, 1991) conceptual tools or a combination and adaptation of these. These provided the basic questions that researchers or project workers were to ask when they went to the field, in order to generate data for future work.

The Harvard WID Framework has four sections:

The DPU-CIDA conceptual analysis expands these to eight tools, focusing on:

At the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) three new tools of Gender Analysis were added to deal with Asian-specific situations (Kelkar, Omvedt and Weber, forthcoming). These include:

With regard to the woodfuel case, the Gender Analysis tools adapted are the following: gender analysis of labour; distribution of benefits within the household; access, control and management of resources: women's agency; and gender policy for technology development.

3.3. Gender analysis of labour

Fuelwood is a material necessity for maintaining food consumption. Its appropriation and processing involve energy expenditure, i.e. Iabour. For calories to be of any use in economic analysis they must be converted or carefully related to use and exchange values. Though, monetary or other economic transactions are not the equivalent of physical flows.

Economic relations are grounded in a concept of value. But not all energy expenditure (labour) is valued in the same way. Thus, it is necessary to open up the 'household' cell, a black box, i.e. a cell whose content is unexplained or unexamined in the usual farming systems approach.

Yet another major problem area has been the inadequate understanding and analysis of the household differentiation, particularly with respect to gender. This is despite the recognition of the importance of gender many years ago and the incorporation of social scientists into research systems. This positive move has not been developed further, as many research systems have little understanding of the impact of gender analysis, both as initial step and as an integral activity in research.

David Gibbon, 1992

Labour and Work

There is a cultural division of labour within the household. But there is a distinction between the technical concept of 'effort' (or energy expanded) and ideological concept of work. For instance, the effort involved in childcare or healthcare is not regarded as work, but as 'service', service performed by a woman for her family.

In the case of the factory/office worker, it might be possible to make a clear-cut distinction between two kinds of labour, that of production and of reproduction. In the peasant household such a distinction is not possible. Labour in production or reproduction are mixed up and not separable by location (in the homestead or outside) or person.

But, a distinction does exist between work that provides or brings in cash income, and work which does not. A notion also exists of the possible alternate earnings with available labour time, the opportunity cost of labour in terms of alternatives foregone. Variation in terms of effort expended between different subsistence activities, and between subsistence and other activities, is important for understanding political economy.

Will money be spent to economize on labour that does not produce money (marketable goods or services), or where the saved labour cannot be used to produce such marketable goods or services? In the case of improved stoves, the effect is of saving labour spent in the collection of fuel (since less fuel will be required).Whose labour will be saved? What are its alternative uses? Its opportunity cost in terms of other income that could be earned, or production that could be increased, by other uses of the saved labour?

Thus, whether a household does or does not seek greater efficiency in fuel use (an improvement which will cost some money) depends on the opportunity cost of women's labour in fuelwood collection and cooking. The lower the income or production lost by women's spending more time in cooking, the less will be the incentive to adopt improved stoves.

To the extent that women's non-domestic, monetary income activities are concentrated within the homestead, these tend to be combined with domestic work, like cooking, and not separated from it. But when women's non-domestic, income activities are located outside the homestead, there is a push for economizing on women's labour in domestic work, like fuelwood collection and cooking. Thus, the importance of increasing the possibilities for women's non-domestic, income-earning activities outside the homestead, in order to increase the demand for more efficient stoves.

This analysis holds essentially for poor households, those who have to maximize their cash incomes and product in order to survive. At higher levels of income, where there is no need to look at the monetary opportunity cost of saving women's labour, or where woodfuel is purchased anyway, the improved stove is likely to be adopted purely for the reason that it reduces women's labour - or even for prestige reasons, for that matter.

Where food production, work patterns and income sources and control are all changing, fuel sources probably are too.

Elizabeth Cecelski, 1984, ILO-WEP, p.84

For example, in urban families where both husband and wife earn money incomes, and can afford the initial expenses of different fuel based stoves, time-saving cooking methods are widely used. Little effort is needed to diffuse innovations saving energy and time. And the innovations can be sold on the market, not requiring a subsidy.

Most of the activities reserved for women (either socially or in projects) tend to be physically located in and around the homestead. This results in a simple increase in the workload of women. The intensity of work increases, with more tasks having to be performed at the same time. On the other hand, if work assigned to women were of a type that takes them out of the homestead, there is likely to be greater pressure for a redefinition of gender roles, both within the family and within the wider society with men taking some of the responsibility for child care (as is seen among some swidenning communities, where women and older children go to the swidden fields, leaving men and younger children in the residence) and more social provisioning for these necessary functions (as through child-care centres at Food for Work sites).

And there will be a definite increase in the demand for time-saving food processing methods - to reduce time spent in collecting fuel and in cooking itself.

Thus, the wood-fuel question must be seen as an aspect of the farm's household's labour availability. The gendered labour constraints and objectives of the farm household need to be understood in order to design appropriate policies.

Box 2: Case Study on Gender Analysis of Labour

Improved Stoves in China

At present, most Chinese people living in rural areas still prefer to use biomass fuel-saving cookstoves to alleviate fuel shortages and to improve general sanitary conditions in their kitchens. Even though there is a tendency for the relatively rich rural farm and small town households to switch to coal for cooking and space heating, biomass, especially fuelwood and agri-residues, is still a major domestic fuel and will remain so in the foreseeable future.

Since the early eighties, the central government authorities... have made a coordinated national effort to develop and disseminate fuel-saving stoves with the active involvement of various national, state and local institutions(e.g. administrative departments, scientific and technical research institutes, training institutions and the industrial service and manufacturing sectors). As a result, by the end of 1991, about 142.56 million farm households had adopted fuel-saving stoves, or equivalent to about 70% of the total number of farm households in China....

Other benefits derived from the use of the improved stoves include: time savings due to faster cooking and less collection of biomass fuels, the enhancement of soil fertility by returning the crop residues saved to the field and, as a whole, the development of the rural economy and the improvement of farmers' living conditions in rural China.

Dr. Wang Megjie, 'Preface', in RWEDP, Chinese Fuel Saving Stoves, FAO, Bangkok, July 1993.

Improved Stoves in India

The Indian National Programme on Improved Chulhas (NPIC) is a little more than eight years old now. The major thrust of the programme has been the conservation of biofuel, reduction or elimination of smoke from the kitchen and alleviation of cooking drudgery... By early 1992, over 12 million improved chulhas or improved cookstoves had already been disseminated all over the country.... By 1997 it is anticipated that a coverage of about 25% of potential rural households will be achieved.

L.M. Menezes, "Preface", in RWEDP, Indian Improved Cookstoves, FAO, Bangkok, July 1993.

Subsidies were provided for the installation of improved cookstoves and Technical Backup Centres were established in many States.

E. Pelinck, "Foreword", in RWEDP, Indian Improved Cookstoves


    1. What gender factors are responsible for the different performance of India and China with regard to dissemination of improved cookstoves?

    2. Why is there a difference in the pricing of improved cookstoves in India and China, with a continuing (though falling) subsidy in India and commercial sale in China?

3.4. Distribution of benefits within the household

The now standard neo-classical economic theory uses the concept of the Rational Economic Man, defined as being entirely selfish and self-seeking in the market. But the same Rational Economic Man is also assumed to be entirely altruistic at home. The household in standard neoclassical economic theory then has a joint utility function something like socialism (from each according to ability, to each according to need) in one family (Nancy Folbre, 1994). James Mill invoked the concept of a joint utility function. He argued that women did not require the franchise, because their interests were represented by their fathers and husbands. His son, John Stuart Mill, one of the founders of neo-classical economics, championed individual rights, and so women's rights.

Class theory has presumed that the working class or peasant family is united in struggling for its interests against capital and the state. In a sense, the families of working people (workers and peasants) are also presumed to have a joint utility function!

As we have already seen, within the household there is a cultural division of tasks, of labour. The subsequent distribution of benefits within the family do not in any way have to correspond to the contributions of the various family members to the family's total labour, whether within or outside the household. Rather, the distribution of benefits within the household also depends on the distribution of ownership of assets, attribution of cash incomes, perceptions about relative contributions, and so on. Rather, than possessing a joint utility function, the family can be seen as a venue of cooperative conflict. (Amartya Sen 1987).

According to Sen's analysis the distribution of benefits within the household is influenced by a few factors, chief among which is the "breakdown" or "fallback" position of the two partners. The breakdown position is that which would obtain in the event that cooperation (i.e. marriage) were to fail. The breakdown position depends on the independent access of each partner to the means of production. This breakdown position is relevant to the distribution of benefits within the household - a stronger breakdown position secures a more favorable outcome within the household. Then, the worst position would be where a woman completely depends on a man for access to the means of production or income. A woman in such a position would be forced to accept a much less favorable outcome in the household than a woman who had independent access to the means of production. Such independent access to the means of production, both familial (e.g. land) and communal (e.g. forest resources) would then strengthen the woman's position in the distribution of benefits within the household.

In a study of various tribes in the Jharkhand region of India (Kelkar and Nathan, 1991), it was found that in some tribes (e.g. Santhal, Munda and Ho) access to forests, the source of gathering, is not mediated in the way that access to agricultural land is. Any member of the community, woman or man, can apply his/her labour to gathering. Further, the income from gathering accrues to the one who performs the labour of gathering, who also does the marketing. But in tribes like the Kherwar, while women's involvement in gathering is no less than in the tribes mentioned above, the women do not carry out the marketing and do not have separate control over the income from gathering.

Corresponding to these differences in control over income, there is also a difference in the relative position of women, with Santhal, Munda and Ho women having a relatively higher position in the family.

3.5. Access, management and control of resources: Women's agency

In the gender analysis of labour, we have seen that without taking account of the gender distribution of monetary and non-monetary activities, it will not be possible to understand the acceptance and spread of attempted innovations, like improved stoves. Approaching women and involving women is not enough to guarantee success of a project that aims at reducing women's drudgery.

In this part, we will look at the importance of understanding gender roles in managing woodfuel resources in order to design effective projects for increasing woodfuel production.

Women's concerns are not confined to well-being. in confining one's attention to well-being, women are treated merely as beneficiaries. But women, like men, also have agency roles, which means that they have to be seen as agents of judgment and change, and as agents of management.

Women are the primary collectors of woodfuel. This is more or less so in most agroecological regions. Men and children also collect woodfuel, but to a much lesser extent. In some places, e.g. Bangladesh, woodfuel collection away from the homestead is the work of men. Women, however, are also day-to-day managers of wood and related biomass resources.

But a distinction needs to be made between daily management of and control over resources:

Men are then understood to be the "farm operators". And are approached when decisions are to be taken about investments in farm forestry. Or, when women are approached they are unable to take appropriate decisions - because they do not own the land.

Box 3: Case Study on Gender Analysis of Access and Ownership of Resources

In Himachal Pradesh, India, in the drought year of 1987, a women's organization, SUTRA tried to motivate women to plant trees, since the women were then walking 20 km to get one headload of fodder. SUTRA introduced the idea of multipurpose trees, and provided seedlings. The members of the women's groups were asked to send lists of plants they required.

However, when the seedlings arrived, few were taken by the women and of those that were taken, few survived. Analysis showed that the areas with the greatest potential for growing trees are the privately owned grazing lands since here the trees will not compete with valuable cash or food crops. But these are far from the home and difficult to protect. In general, men cut any trees with commercial value for timber. The women were afraid that the same fate would befall their newly planted trees. The men after all have the last word on the management of resources on family property. The men were not at all concerned with fodder and fuelwood trees.

Madhu Sarin, in Local Organizations in Community Forestry Extension in Asia, FAO/RWEDP, 1993, summarized in M.M.Skutsch.


    1. What steps could be taken for an effective multi-purpose tree project in this situation?

    2. What national enabling steps (including legislation) would make it easier to secure the correspondence between use and management/ control of the necessary resources?

In many tribal communities (e.g. in Jharkhand in India) women do have access to forest resources and to income from the sale of forest produce. But the overall management of forests is in the hands of the village council, which is composed of adult men and explicitly excludes women. Even in a matrilineal community like the Khasi, men represent the family in its external relations and form the village council. Consequently, women are not included in village forest committees.

That women do not own land and that they do not form part of village forest committees, means that those who are affected by decisions about a resource are not the ones who participate in decisions about the resource. It is a usually accepted condition of an efficient property system - that those who are affected by decisions also participate in decisions about that resource.

This would not matter if there were a common utility function for the family. Then, women (and children) could as well be represented by the male head of the household.

Deciding on the composition of trees to be planted to be planted either on farmer-owned farmland, or in community woodlots is an important aspect of management. To the extent that women are not an equal part of the decision-making body (farm operator or community committee) their specific preferences for particular types of trees will tend to be ignored or given less importance in the management decisions.

Discussions with men and women in the forests frequently reveal differences in matters like the choice of trees. Women are said to prefer trees for fuel, fodder and fruit; while men are said to prefer timber trees that can be sold commercially.

Women, on the other hand, prefer trees that yield returns with a shorter waiting period and smaller returns spread out over a longer period, as with fruit trees compared to timber trees.

But the difference is not because women are not commercially oriented, while men are. Women, for instance, may choose fruit trees not out of a preference for self-consumption, but to sell the fruit. The difference lies in the maturity period. Men are more willing to risk a longer investment period, as is necessary in the case of timber trees, with lumpy returns.

These differences in attitude to maturity periods, themselves lie in women's greater responsibility for day-to-day care of the family, which makes them concerned with quick-yielding and regular returns. Men, relieved of these immediate cares, can afford to think of longer term investments, with lumpy though much larger returns.

Thus, consulting only men or allowing sole decision by men, is likely to result in an unsustainable emphasis on longer-term investments with lumpy returns. Unsustainable because the need for quick and regular returns will be pushed onto other parts of the resource base in unanticipated ways. In order to get a sustainable mix of activities that will increase productivity, it is necessary to take account of women's specific concerns with quick and regular returns, and to enable women to participate in decision-making on these matters. This involves both women's ownership of land and their participation in village or user councils.

3.6. Gender policy for technology development

Besides the tendencies to break down a system into its parts (reductionism) and to seek technological solutions to the defined problem (technological fix), another strong feature of research policy has been the belief that "formal research and extension is the primary source of new ideas and technologies that will benefit all farmers. Research and extension institutional structures were developed to support the central source, transfer of technology model of development" (David Gibbon, 1992.)

There has been little recognition of the need to consider "a dynamic, interactive relationship between the researcher, extensionist and farmer, and to initiate activities that support the process of technology development in a variety of ways simultaneously."

Box 4: Case Study on Gender in Community Organizations

In the above example (in Himachal Pradesh, India) the NGO started to work on getting women collective control over common lands. Up to then, the Forest Department consulted the village Panchayat (council) about the type of trees to be planted on common land. The council was solidly male and commercial timber species were always planted. Various women's groups began to oppose this strategy; one group passed a resolution that unless the Forest Department planted at least 50% fodder species, they would uproot all the trees and replace them with fodder crops. They also demanded that in future the Forest Department should consult with the women's organizations as well as the village council; later this was taken further, and it was demanded that the government should give the women's organizations the power and responsibility for deciding how the common lands should be developed.

Madhu Sarin, in Local Organizations in Community Forestry Extension in Asia, FAO/RWEDP, 1992, summarized in M.M.Skutsch.

A group of men was invited to a village meeting to jointly plan a community forestry project. The men told the foresters that they wanted to plant hardwood tree species to make furniture and wood carvings for sale. Three thousand hardwood seedlings were provided. They all died. Why? Because in the village it was the task of women to care for seedlings; no one had told then that the seedlings were coming. Another meeting was held. This time the women were included. Foresters learned that the women preferred soft wood fast-growing species for fuelwood and fodder. When the project provided seedlings of both types, satisfying the needs of both women and men, the women planted and watered all of them.

Marilyn Hoskins, Gender Analysis and Forestry, in press, Sec. A, p. 6.


    1. Why are there differences between men and women in the choice of trees? Is it a matter of biology, or different inclinations, of different areas of responsibility for the family?

    2. How can these differences be taken care of in a project?

So long as agricultural research concentrated on the reasonably controlled environments of irrigated rice and wheat fields, not many problems were encountered with the old approach. But when ICRISAT and other organizations began to turn their attention to the vastly variable environments they had to deal with, they were faced with the inability of existing technological approaches to solve pressing problems of agricultural development in some areas, in particular the rainfed and semi-arid plains and the hill-forest regions. This has led to the questioning of some of the analytical methods of science and the organizational methods of research. The great variation in environments led scientists to consider the necessity of working in active partnership with farmers.

The old "scientistic" approach is increasingly under attack and it is being increasingly realized that producers, farmers in this case, have an important contribution to make in creating and developing new technology. In the new science of agroforestry it is commonplace to start with the observation that, while some farmers have for long used trees in combination with crops, agricultural scientists have only now begun to look at the role of trees in farming systems. "Agroforestry is an ancient land use of great promise as a new agricultural science. Traditional farmers have long used trees in combination with live-stock and annual crops, yet agricultural science has in the past ignored the role of trees in farming systems." (MacDicken and Vergara, 1900)

The basis for farmer's participation in technological development lies in the labour that they perform and their decisions and systems of managing their resources. As a result of this labour and management of resources they gain valuable knowledge and skills. This knowledge and skills may not be (and usually is not) available to the professional scientist and other technicians, whose practice rarely extends beyond the laboratories and experimental farms. It is the need to bring together the knowledge and skills of the producers (indigenous knowledge as it is sometimes called) with those of the professional scientist and technician that makes a partnership between farmers and experts necessary.

When we talk of the knowledge and skills that farmers possess, is all that knowledge and skills available to all farmers? If so, it would make no difference which farmer we happened to include as a partner. The potential contribution of that person would be the same. (This is the technological counterpart of the household's "single utility function", which enables the man, as head, to represent the household.)

Since knowledge and skills depend on participation in labour and in the management of resources, and to the extent that there exists a division of labour within the farm household, the knowledge and skills possessed by different sections of the household will be different. This is the reason why we need to take account of the gender division of labour in production and in the management of resources in a programme that seeks technological development by combining the scientist/ technician and extensionist with the farmer.

Women's Knowledge

The recognition that women and men possess different parts of the knowledge of indigenous farming practice does not mean an abandonment of holism. Some attempts at opposing reductionism (those of the eco-feminists) sought to do this by identifying men with reductionism and women with holism. What is needed is not the replacement of men by women, but a recognition that communities of farmers (including those of tribals in the uplands) are composed of dominant and subordinate genders, and that the "knowledge of the community" resides in particular social beings, both women and men.

As a result of women's continuous use of woodfuel they have in-depth knowledge and know-how about various species. "When it comes to the knowledge of fuelwood species... women can differentiate between those which provide quick high heat, those which provide long-lasting low heat, and those which smoke....When it comes to the management of fuelwood species, successive generations of older women have trained younger women in the art of lopping or pollarding." (Martha Chen, 1993)

A variety of biomass goods are used by rural households. Their collection, processing and use are often gender-specific. "Women are the primary processors, driers, and storers of many of these [biomass] products. Moreover, women generally manage the energy flows from biomass resources, particularly in the form of fodder and composting materials, to the agriculture and livestock sub-systems of household livelihood systems: for instance, gathering and processing fodder, caring for animals, converting animal dung into fertilizer." (Martha Chen, 1993, 31)

As mentioned above, agroforestry is getting increasing attention as a means to solve fuelwood supply and other problems. Agroforestry is a newly-emerging scientific discipline within agriculture. But its practice is very old. Centuries (millennia) of agricultural development have centered on "farm" and "forest" as dichotomous categories, and have treated "trees" and "crops" as being opposed to each other. But now international attempts are being made to revive and extend the practice of agro-forestry. The humble home garden, of which the Javanese home garden is the most outstanding example, is now recognized as the repository of very essential knowledge about multi-tier farming.

"While home gardens may occur within systems ranging from shifting cultivation to intensive-multiple cropping in permanent plots, they seem to be the domain of women wherever such a plot is one among many other plots available to the household, or in cases where men are almost exclusively engaged in off-farm labour. In intensively cultivated areas of land scarcity, the whole household may work the home garden under the management of the head of the household, as in parts of Southeast Asia. In such case, the rationale for the home garden shifts more towards labour intensification on scarce land rather than efficient multiple use of women's scarce time. Even so, these plots may have greater relative importance for women than men, based on the distribution of labour input and on the fact that men may have alternative sources of cash income. This is also reflected in the tendency for women in Java to inherit home gardens, while their brothers inherit the rice croplands" (Dianne Rocheleau, 1987).

In Bangladesh "by tradition women have always been more involved in homestead agricultural production than men" (C. Safilios-Rothschild and Simeen Mahmud, 1988.) The wood from homesteads is the major source of fuelwood in Bangladesh.

Home gardens then are a special agroforestry niche of women. The development of agroforestry as such requires careful attention to women as bearers of traditional knowledge of agroforestry practices.

Along with the home garden, swidden farming is another type of multi-tier, multi-crop method of cultivation. Over a long historical period the thrust of agricultural development has been in the plains. Monocropping and irrigated cultivation reached their culmination in the Green Revolutions. This route of development has very little scope in the hill forests, and on the rainfed plains too. The multi-tier, multi-crop cultivation system to which attention is now being paid, is characteristic of swidden farming. This has been characterized by Ester Boserup (in the context of Africa, but it hold good outside of Africa too) as a "female farming system".

A recent study by Ramakrishnan (1993) shows the overwhelming importance of women's labour in swidden farming. Swidden farming is very much women's work; with men mainly contributing a short, sharp burst of activity in clearing the fields.

Box 5: Case Study on Gender Policy for Technology Development

The scenario is such that forests (land under forestry departments' control) are unlikely to be available for fuelwood production through the agroforestry approach in most developing countries. Similarly, food production will continue to be given top priority so that it may not be prudent or feasible to envisage any substantial fuelwood production schemes on arable agricultural lands at the cost of food production. However, agroforestry can be of value in this context by:

    1. Incorporating and integrating appropriate species of woody perennials on farmlands along with other components of the farming system not in a competitive but in a complementary way

    2. Integrating herbaceous crops and livestock on forest land according to the agroforestry management schemes so as to facilitate simultaneous production of wood and food crops

    3. Employing agroforestry techniques for reclamation of degraded lands and proper utilization of "wastelands".

Some prototype agroforestry technologies for each of these situations are now available. Most of these have evolved through the trial-and-error approach of local farmers with practically no scientific input to improve them. The greatest scope for improving their efficiency and obtaining tangible results in such a programme lies with the integrated food and fuelwood production initiatives in small holdings.

P.K.R.Nair, 1994, "Agroforestry and biomass energy/fuelwood production, " in Agroforestry Systems in the Tropics, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, 597


    1. Are there any gender differences in the knowledge of women and men that are not taken account of in the above analysis?

    2. How would/should any such differences effect the design of an agro-forestry project?

To draw attention to the important knowledge that women have in swidden farming, we may take the case of planting. Planting involves not only the physical labour of digging holes and planting seeds (which is done by women), or broadcasting in some cases, but also careful selection of microsites within the swidden field. A variety of grains and pulses is planted. "When a swidden field is planted the visual result, as viewed by the outsider, is a mixture of plants that defies his idea of order. But to the swiddener, the field is a reflection of the soil variation in the fields and the plants that will do best in each microsite" (Warner, 1991, p.39).

The complexity of planting in swidden fields shows the important role of women-specific knowledge of multi-tier, multi-crop cultivation. This knowledge needs to be built on in any attempt to develop the productivity of sustainable cultivation in the uplands, if not elsewhere too. This is not so much a matter of applying particular, well-known techniques and methods. Rather, it is a matter of utilizing the principles embodied in swidden farming in order to create a higher productivity, while conserving the natural resource base. The relevant principles of swidden farming are (Warner, 1991):

Above we have referred to the very complex knowledge involved in cultivation in home gardens and swidden fields. A recent UNIFEM study of Women's Roles in the Innovation of Food Cycle Technologies, gives many more such examples. "In Sudan women carry out forty-step fermentation processes with utmost care. This causes foods to be preserved for up to two years despite the hot climate. Women know how to use and treat enzymes as they would be used and treated in a laboratory.... In Zimbabwe, women use their knowledge of alkaline and acidic properties in the processing and utilization of over fifty kinds of indigenous wild plants. In Kenya, women potters utilize their knowledge of the properties of different clay sources and proportions of mixtures in making durable pottery products and fuel-efficient stoves. Women salt extractors in Sierra Leone possess knowledge about the intricate chemical processes of salt solubility and crystallization rates of sodium chloride vis-a-vis other salts" (Ilkkaracan and Appleton, 1994, 70).

Processes of fermentation and other biological methods of preserving and processing food are well known to women, with variations from area to area depending on the type of agro-ecological zone. In the use of neem and other natural products for pest control, women seem to play the major part in processing and preparing the materials; with application being left to men. (Information supplied by Dorritt Benden-Little.)

The preservation of seeds is often the province of women. In some hill-forest regions (e.g. among the Kreung and Tampuan tribes in Rattnakeri, Cambodia) women are the main repositories of knowledge about herbal medicines. In many tribes men have a monopoly of public knowledge of complex use of herbs and other treatments. But there are instances of women tribal doctors who are experts in this field.

The number of examples given could be multiplied. But the point is to investigate in each location the specific gender division of labour, the various tasks that women perform and the consequent knowledge that women possess of the relevant processes. This has to be the starting point of any attempt to develop a gender framework for fuelwood interventions.

One of the reasons why such an investigation needs to be carried out is that a large part of women's labour in agricultural production is "invisible". Women's labours in many parts of the agricultural cycle are invisible in census figures. They would continue to remain invisible if the investigation of women's roles was confined to asking men about them. Men usually respond with the answer that women only do "domestic" work and nothing else. A large part of women's labour is subsumed under "domestic work": looking after the animals, tending to the home garden, processing various agricultural materials, and so on. These are all regarded as merely parts of women's domestic duties, and are considered to be at a very low technical level, not deserving the title of labour. Thus, women's knowledge too can remain invisible. In an article, Wild Plants as Milk Preservatives, Ann Waters-Bayer was forced to remark, "did not once mention that the Fulani who have the knowledge about how to preserve milk and who hold all the other knowledge about milk processing are not the 'herders' but rather the Fulani women" (Ann Waters -Bayer, 1994). The above-quoted UNIFEM study of Women's Roles in the Innovation of Food Cycle Technologies (Ilkkaracan and Appleton, 1994) sums up the matter: "Women's knowledge of production processes, although scientifically based, remains largely invisible. Nevertheless women constantly use their knowledge to make rational economic and technical choices and changes appropriate to their environment".

While the combination of modem technology with indigenous knowledge is very essential, it is important that in the process of this interaction the women concerned do not lose control over the results of this interaction. This would require not just assigning intellectual property rights to the communities or individuals, but also working with them to develop their knowledge and adapt it to other uses and more packageable forms, involving processing and formulation.

While noting the existing gender division of labour and thus not depriving women of participation in developing what they know, the existing division of labour should not set the boundary to women's involvement. This, as pointed out above, is essential for effectiveness of a programme of technological change and adaptation. But equity may require that we go beyond just this consideration.

The division of labour that exists in any place is not fixed, but changing. Further, there are wide variations from one place to another. If in Andhra Pradesh, India, men alone do the work of tapping trees (for gum karaya) in Sri Lanka women are also rubber tappers. So, there is no fixed rule that men alone should be trained in advanced methods of tapping. In a situation of grave imbalance against women, equity would require that we seek to change the balance in women's favour, not simply ensuring that we do not make it any worse. This, however, is not just a matter of access to technology, but also one of ownership of and control over resources, particularly land.

But, let us at least begin by separately involving women in areas where they are the acknowledged traditional experts.


3.7. References

Agarwal, Bina, 1986, Barren Slopes and Cold Hearths, New Delhi, Allied Publishers.

CCIC, MATCH International Centre and Association Quebecoise des organismes de cooperation international, 1991, Two Halves Makes A Whole: Balancing Gender Relations in Development, Ottawa.

Chen, Martha, 1993, "Women and Wasteland Development in India: An Issue Paper", in Andrea M. Singh and Neera Burra, eds., Women and Wasteland Development in India, New Delhi, Sage Publishers.

Cecelski, Elizabeth, 1984, Women and Rural Energy, Geneva, lLO - WEP.

ESCAP, 1994, Women in Asia and the Pacific, New York, United Nations.

RWEDP, 1993, Chinese Fuel Saving Stoves, Bangkok, FAO.

RWEDP, 1993, Indian Improved Stoves, Bangkok, FAO.

Folbre, Nancy, 1994, Who Pays for the Kids? Gender and the Structures of Constraint, Routledge, London.

Gibbon, David, 1992, "The Future of Farming Systems Research in Developing Countries," in K.V. Raman and T. Balaguru, eds., Farming Systems Research in India: Strategies for Implementation, Hyderabad, NAARM.

Hoskins, Marilyn, in press, Gender Analysis and Forestry, FAO, Rome.

Ilkkaracan, Ipek and Helen Appleton, 1994, Women's Roles in the Innovation of Food Cycle Technologies, UNIFEM, New York.

Kelkar, Govind and Dev Nathan, 1991, Gender and Tribe, Kali for Women, New Delhi, and Zed Press, London.

Kelkar, Govind, Omvedt, Gail and Weber, Karl E., Gender Analysis, Participatory Rural Aporaisal and Empowerment of Women, (forthcoming, AIT, Bankok).

MacDicken, K.G. and Napoleon Vergara, 1990, Agroforestry: Classification and Management, John Wiley and Sons, New York.

Nair, P.K.R., 1994, "Agroforestry and biomass energy/ fuelwood production", in Agroforestry Systems in the Tropics, Dodrecht, Kluwer Academic Press.

Ramakrishnan, P.S., 1993, Shifting Cultivation and Sustainable Development, UNESCO, Paris.

Rao, Aruna, Mary B. Anderson and Catherine A. Overholt, 1991, Gender Analysis in Development Planning: A Case Book, Kumarian Press: West Hartford.

Rocheleau, Diane, 1987, "Women, trees and tenure: implications for agroforestry research and development", in John B. Raintree, ed., Land, Trees and Tenure, ICRAF, Nairobi, and the Land Tenure Centre, Madison.

Safilios-Rothschild, C. and Simeen Mahmud, 1988, "The Gender Dimension in Crop Production", in UNDP, Bangladesh Agriculture Sector Review, Compendium Volume 1, Dhaka.

Sarin, Madhu, 1992, "The Potential Role of Women's Organizations in Natural Resource Management", in Local Organizations in Community Forestry Extension in Asia, FAO RWEDP, Bangkok.

Sen, Amartya, 1987, Gender and Cooperative Conflicts, WIDER Working Papers, Helsinki.

Warner, Katherine, 1991, Shifting Cultivators, Local Technical Knowledge and Natural Resource Management in the Tropics, FAO, Rome.

Waters-Bayer, Ann, 1994, Quoted in Exchange, Little Rock, October-December.

4. Preparing gender policy statements

Uraivan Tan-Kim-Yong

This paper describes a training module on "Wood Energy Policy and the Gender Component".

The objectives of the module are to:

The module consists of three sessions:

4.1. Policy impacts and gender considerations


To help participants explore current development impacts on men and women, and broaden their perspectives on the gender and wood energy crisis.


Material: Handouts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Session guide

Slide Presentation

The objective of the slide presentation is to review the issue of the differential impacts of policy interventions on women and men.

Key questions are posed during the slide presentation to emphasize the importance of considering gender in energy policy and planning

4.2. Policy support


Participants study and practice the preparation of a gender-sensitive policy statement in order to understand how policy support can change the impacts on women and on men.


Material: Handouts 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Session Guide

Small group session on policy statements

In small groups, the participants will study the country sector policies and work out a gender-sensitive policy statement.

Discussion: Working groups of six to eight participants review the energy/forestry sector policies and draft policy statements concerning and supporting the operationalization of the planning process and future project design and implementation.

The group prepares a presentation and selects a representative to discuss with all participants.

After the session, the group will shape the draft statement into a final form to be distributed to all participants.

4.3. Policy options and planning


The participants learn some policy options with gender-related components.


Material: Handouts 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Session Guide

Slide Presentation

The slide presentation explains policy options and poses questions on operationalizing gender sensitive policy and planning processes for further discussion.

After the slide presentation two working groups will carry on the key questions for discussion and definition of the details. These questions will assist the groups to identify actions and procedures needed to support gender-sensitive policy formulation and planning.

4.4. Annex: Handouts

List of Handouts


Handout 1:

Energy and Rural Women's Work

Handout 2:

Gender and Energy

Handout 3:

Policy Formulation and Program Planning Process

Handout 4:

Women's Basic Needs and the Biomass Crisis

Handout 5:

Energy as Entry Point

Handout 6:

Draft Policy Statement of RWEDP

Handout 7:

Summary Table on Country Sector Policy

Handout 8:

A Case Study on Forest-Based Small Scale Enterprise

Handout 9:

India Case Study

Handout 10:

Policy Options

Handout 1: Energy and Rural Women's Work


• Women bear the major burden of environmental and economic distress in developing countries. They are working longer hours to produce sufficient food and income to support their families, as well as collecting the necessary fuel and water, with less family labour due to male migration. In times of crisis and stress such as drought and famine, women's contribution to family income and survival is even more critical.

• Women's access to resources, including energy, is actually declining while their burdens are increasing. Confronted with changes in fuel and biomass availibilities, rural households are being forced to make various adjustments which have negative effects on their living standards, work, consumption and incomes:

    - on working patterns (division of labour, women's workload, energy-related activities, cooking and fuel collection

    - on family nutrition and health (women's time)

    - on the environment, agricultural productivity and incomes (women's perceptions of causes of deforestration, loss of agricultural productivity, food and income, loss of forest products, and effects on income in food processing).

• Only a fraction of major donors' aid to developing countries has gone to rural energy and meeting the household fuel needs of the poor. Most funds go to electricity and other conventional sources for the modern sector.

• Poor women themselves have often not recognized these linkages explicitly, due to their overriding immediate food and income concerns. Energy can nonetheless be an extremely useful entry point to meet women's priority needs through projects using a participatory approach to project design and implementation.

• Depending upon the stage of physical and socio-economic degradation reached, energy projects can be used for labour and time saving, for cooking and for rural employment, or for reclamation of land and livelihoods.

• Both managing energy demand and increasing family welfare are possible through household fuel planning and cooking efficiency improvements. Through combining rural development and energy goals in a participatory approach, both objectives can be more effectively met.

Elizabeth Cecelski, Energy and Rural Women's Work. Crisis, Response and Policy Alternatives, 1986, ILO

Handout 2: Gender and Energy


• Almost all western donors are now explicitly committed to a policy of sustainable development, and are rewriting their assistance plans in the light of Agenda 21. Energy is one sector which clearly needs to be reoriented.

• Donors have also declared their commitment to promoting women in development.

• A review of relevant donor documents indicates that in all cases energy projects support women only in their role as housewives and mothers, not as producers and breadwinners.

• A policy which is rapidly gaining ground in the environmental area is that of local level management of natural resources, including forest areas. In handing over management of the forests to local communities, riffle thought has been given to the relation between the genders and whether women will have any control over the benefits.

• In almost all cultures women are believed to be the "caring" sex. This could be used as a vehicle in setting women up as the "carers of the natural environment". This and related cultural norms and values could persuade the government and local communities that forest management is a "proper" role for women. Increasing the role of women in forest management could improve the domestic fuelwood situation, and open up opportunities for economic gain for women from the sale of other forest products.

• The category "women" is by no means homogenous and differences among women may be as great as differences between genders.

Margaret M. Skutsch and Nico Schulte Nordholt: Gender and Energy: Hijacking Cultural Norms

Handout 3: Policy Formulation and Program Planning Process

Handout 4: Women's Basic Needs and the Biomass Crisis

Handout 5: Energy as Entry Point

Energy as an entry point to different stages of physical and socio-economic degradation


Fuel access/types

Labour time






Free access to high quality wood


Forest-based industries and trade, food processing still viable

Little erosion. Nutrition minimal based on a variety of local cultivated and: gathered products


Energy for labour/time saving to increase efficiency and productivity of specific tasks, e.g. improved animal traction for water lifting, hydro grain milling, better drying for fish, herbs, more efficient beer brewing.


Access limited and increasingly privatized. Type of fuel used corresponds to income level the poor mostly use residue fuels due to lack of cash to purchase more convenient fuels

Increasing time for fuel gathering cooking, water collection and agriculture

Forest based industries and income declining

Falling due to erosion, diversion of organic matter to fuel. The rich co opt best lands and other resources. Diets depend increasingly on purchased foods.

Male migration becomes an economic necessity for poor households

Energy for cooking and rural employment to save time and raise incomes, e.g., energy and resource based income activities


All high quality fuels commercialized and severe penalties for infringement on private resources.

Satisfaction of basic needs alone requires all household time, with negative effects especially on women's health.

No natural resource based or fuel-intensive industries or employment

Yields of staple crops falling dramatically. Food from relief agency or purchase. Nutritional and health status poor

Outmigration of "ecological refugees" to cities

Energy for reclamation of land and livelihoods to reclaim wastelands and at the same time generate incomes, e.g. through social forestry and infrastructure works

Handout 6: Draft Policy Statement of RWEDP


    1. RWEDP believes that women's interests in the wood energy field can best be served by adopting a gender approach across all its activities. Women's role in wood energy supply and use is not considered separately but viewed in relation to men's (and children's) roles. The crucial factors to consider here are, who does what, and why? And, who has access to and control over the sources of wood energy? The analysis needs to be applied both to the existing situation and to the implications of any planned wood energy interventions. Gender analysis will provide the basis for planning amelioration measures, where necessary.

    2. RWEDP will seek to support women's rights in sharing of both responsibilities and benefits from community land resource management programmes related to fuelwood. Wood energy projects are intended to be of immediate value to women in assisting them to meet their strategic needs.

    3. RWEDP aims to stimulate sensitivity toward and appreciation of gender issues in wood energy planning among all energy planners. Actions will be carried out to raise awareness of the need for gender analysis in energy planning, and to integrate practical and operational gender-sensitive planning tools into the energy planning process. Gender analysis is to be used as general procedure for scanning and improving all wood energy planning organizations throughout the region by ensuring that appropriate training is offered both at policy level and at implementation level.

    4. RWEDP will promote the active participation of women in wood energy planning at all levels, both by preparing teaching materials and by encouraging discussion about the need for women's viewpoints at district and national level planning.

Margaret Skutsch: draft policy statement

Gender in Development Policy

Policy Sector



Gender-Related Component


Handout 8: A Case Study on Forest-Based Small Scale Enterprises

Issues and Constraints for Forest-Based Small Scale Enterprise

1. Diminishing availibility of raw materials

Diminishing forest area and continuous exploitation are producing shortages in traditionally utilized forest products. Changes in distribution and diversity are particularly important as FBSSEs often involve collection, processing, utilization and trade in nearby raw materials. It may not be economically viable for an FBSSE to operate using distant resources.

2. Insecure markets/fluctuating commercial value

Income generating FBSSEs are characterized by small, often insecure, markets. Access to these markets is important to the viability of FBSSEs. The changing nature of new and old markets and the fluctuating prices of raw materials and finished products ensure that FBSSEs are dynamic enterprises,

Increased commercialization of either raw or processed goods can sometimes force FBSSEs to make the quantum leap from a local, subsistence level enterprise with exclusive local end use, to a business involving the international export market. Groups that were previously dependent on a locally valuable product may have to give up their FBSSE entirely. Local people involved in FBSSEs need to cultivate their ability to constantly adapt to change.

3. Introduction of new technology

The introduction of new technologies effects FBSSEs. Inability to utilize new technologies may result in a relocation of FBSSEs to a different geographic area.

4. Access to alternate sources of income

Many FBSSEs provide only marginal returns, therefore, participation is often linked to the existence or absence of alternate sources of income and employment. Additionally, there must be sufficient value in the activity as a supplement to wage work or as a culturally significant function.

5. Lack of entrepreneurial/managerial skills

Many poor and disadvantaged groups, including women, are unable to take entrepreneurial advantage of new FBSSE opportunities (Josh) 1987). With low capital, limited free time, restricted ranges of activity and lack of experience, entrepreneurial risk-taking and strategy-making are unlikely to be feasible.

Many FBSSEs are in the informal sector. Therefore, it is often difficult for them to get financial assistance to start-up small scale processing or marketing enterprises. The degree of institutional support FBSSEs receive from cooperatives, government departments, NGOs, banks and industry can also effect operations.

Developed from FAL's Community Forestry Case Study, FBSSE, edited by Jeffrey Y. Campbell

Gender in Development Policy(Forestry, Energy, Gender)

Policy Sector



Gender-Related Component


Reducing forest degradation, increasing forest resources supply, and sustaining forest and water resources for long term conservation, use, management and development

Conservation and commercial use of public forests

• Access and benefit sharing between men and women on a more equitable basis

• Use and production of wood and non-wood products, and forests

• Gender-sensitive technology

Social/Community Forestry

Decentralizing forest management; local management of community forest for economy and environment to sustain rural forest resources and income for poor people

Communal forest under common property for multipurpose use of forest(energy, fodder, food) and conservation of critical protected forest(Watershed, Park, Wildlife, Buffer Zone)

• Women and tenure

• Community management by women's group

• Access and benefits

• Energy-saving technology

• Opportunities for women to earn income

• Contract with women/groups

Handout 9: India Case Study

Constraints and Issues for Women in Lacquerware Enterprises Today

Lacquerware is one of the only carpentry-related FBSSEs in Karnataka that has traditionally supported substantial participation by women. In response to changes in the industry, men are taking advantage of new opportunities while women are being marginalized or totally displaced. To this list can be added the negative impacts of mechanization and problems with institutional training.

1. Raw material supply

Half logs are classified as timber and no effort is made to separate them from other logs after harvesting in the forest. They are brought to forest department depots, which are often in remote locations and sold in large quantities. The travel distance and the large volumes make it difficult for anyone but wealthy merchants and contractors to purchase. Most women work in household-based enterprises and must purchase their wood daily. This leaves them more exposed to supply and price fluctuations.

2. Exploitation by traders/static prices

Traders often bypass women during the procurement process. Though many of the export jewelry items such as beads of various sizes for necklaces can be produced by women, they require hand lathe operation and therefore exporters prefer to give their orders to male artisans. This may partly be due to the fact that the exporters are men and are accustomed to dealing with men for items made on power lathes. It may also be a reflection of women's continuing low profile in the industry: as they have traditionally catered to local markets, this hinders women's participation in the export market.

3. Problems with institutional training

An exclusive women's training center exists under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) Welfare Department administered by the Block Development Office in Channapatna, yet for the past two or three years the power lathes, which are specially designed for women, have been idle. Participation rates at the SC/ST LWTI Centre have dropped from 20 women trained a year to 13 in recent years. The real problem seems to stem from the absence of a definite focus on the development of skilled female artisans. This is true in all of the training centers.

Developed from FAO's Community Forestry Case Study, edited by Jeffrey Y. Campbell, 1991

Handout 10: Policy Options

Social Forestry

The early focus of social forestry was on community woodlots, a programming policy which has not met expectations. Some attention has been given to planting along public roads and supplying seedlings for individual planting. For any of these efforts to succeed, villagers must first perceive a fuel shortage.

For any tree planting program to function, there must be a ready source of seedlings. A Tanzania woodlot program found access to seedlings and advice from extension workers to be major factors in the success of its efforts (Skutsch 1981). Mothers' Clubs in Korea earned income for their members with such a project (Tinker and Cho 1981). The Greenbelt project of the National Council of Women of Kenya not only supplies seedlings but pays a handicapped villager to care for them (Thrupp 1983). It is unfortunate that some foresters continue to resist this solution (Hoskins 1981).

For a community woodlot to succeed, the need for a cohesive community is paramount but is seldom found in class or caste stratified villages in Asia (Burley 1982; Noronha 1980). Social conflict, land ownership, or rights to communal lands have undermined woodlot efforts worldwide (Cernea 1984). The difficulty of relying on communal solutions is found even in the P.R.C. where tree planting has been included under the responsibility system which reallocates responsibilities of decision making from the team or brigade to an individual family (FAO 1983). But it is not sufficient to consider only the socio-economic and caste barriers to communal action. Given the sex-typed nature of job responsibilities, women are often automatically expected to care for the trees despite their long work day and the unlikelihood of their ever benefitting from them (Hocking 1981; DEVRES 1980). The community woodlot seldom replaces the free forest as a source of fuel for the community. Rather, those who manage to control the lot begin to sell firewood. Secondly, the local poor continue to use twigs and leaves and so are uninterested in cookstoves designed for wood. Only if social forestry projects understand this commercialization of firewood and ensure that those who tend the woodlot also benefit from the sale of the trees will such projects begin to succeed. Planting of trees by individuals, rather than communities, seems a more promissing solution. The selection of species can respond to the multifold needs of the villagers for trees which supply fodder, fuel, fruit, or other edible parts (Williams 1984a). Even when fuel is the predominant concern, the varying qualities of woods for different cooking or smoking tasks must be considered (Hoskins 1981; Cooper and Davidson 1983). Landless villagers, especially women, can be taught to grow seedlings for sale.

Improving Cookstoves

Early technological responses to the rural energy crisis were based on the assumption that traditional cooking methods were hopelessly inefficient and used far larger amounts of firewood than actually necessary.

In fact, research has shown that traditional cooking method are adaptive to the lifestyle and responsibilities of the women who cook. As part of their socialization process, these women have reamed to manage all phases of cooking, adjusting for the fast or slow cooking requirements of different foods (Islam et al. 1984, Chapter 8). They use the fire for drying grains on the stove or in the rafters (Ki-Zerbo 1980), and use the smoke for insect control (an attribute of cookstoves seldom considered by stove technologists). They can coax heat from twigs and leaves, not just firewood - which is generally required by the new cookstoves. They clearly understand the trade-off between fuel consumption and time saved (Koenig 1983), and may stoke two fires to speed a meal when harvesting awaits.

Most traditional stoves accept anything burnable while improved stoves generally require wood cut to a specific size; however, women often lack axes or hatchets. Further, women themselves both make and repair traditional stoves. Too often the making of the new cookstoves was seen as a technology too complicated for women to ream, and thus men were taught to make them. Such an approach not only reduced women's utility - and status - within the family, it meant that the new stoves were not kept in repair because of the cost (Reining et al. 1977; Thomas and Amalfitano 1982).

More recent efforts to improve cookstoves are much more cognizant of the cultural context and more modest in their claims. Different preparation methods also require different stoves: In Afghan refugee camps, women use subsidized kerosene for tea-making and other purposes; but baking their traditional bread, nan, requires a sunken oven which uses wood (West 1984). This diversification of cookstoves, as new stoves are offered, should also be considered in future design.

The fuel/food equation

The focus of efforts to reduce the amount of fuel consumed by rural cooking has been on improved cookstoves and different cooking pots. Yet the object of cooking is food, not fuel efficiency. Remarkably little attention has been given to altering the composition of the food to reduce of dispense with cooking time. The need to consider the interrelationships between food and fuel is increasingly important as evidence accumulates on how the poor must reduce their food intake, or change their cooking habits, as a result of the lack of fuel (Cecelski 1984; DEVRES 1980). The switch to rice and wheat from grains which require longer cooking has important implications for national food policies. Pre-treatment or partial cooking of more traditional grains might be considered as a way to reduce household energy use.

Women spend more time in food processing than they do either in fetching water or gathering fuels. The complex interplay of fuel and food needs is central to the survival of families in near-subsistence societies. It is essential to consider both sides of the fuel/food equation. It has already been noted that women respond to the conflicting pressures on their time in a variety of ways. They may use two fires - and twice as much firewood - to reduce cooking time; or they may skip meals entirely. They may switch to faster cooking foods such as rice instead of millet, or join their neighbors in a communal kitchen in order to save both time and fuel.

Small commercial grain mills are widespread in developing countries, but often the poor cannot afford them. In Burkina Faso many women had their grain ground only during the harvest time when women were busy in the fields (Ilemmings-Gapihan 1981). In an example of another need for beneficiary consultation on program design, in Indonesia, the introduction of small rice mills is estimated to have put seven million women out of their work of hand-pounding the rice. These same women, jobless, could not themselves afford to get their rice ground. New technologies, whether cookstoves or grain mills, cisterns or plastic water piping, or new species of crops or trees, all require a new balance in the daily time demands of poor women.

Irene Linkers: The Real Rural Energy Crisis: Women's Time 1994

5. Institutionalizing the gender approach

Margaret Skutsch

5.1. Objectives

The objective of this module is to bring to the attention of the participants the very practical steps that must be taken if a 'gender approach' is to be introduced into normal working procedures.

At the end of the module they will be aware of a number of immediate measures that should be taken to assist the institutionalization of the gender approach, and of the difficulties in these. They will have considered this in the context of their own home working situation.

They will have an appreciation of the possibilities for training and the different ways in which this may be approached.

5.2. Scheduling

It is expected that the module should be covered in a half day session. There is more than enough material for a half day, so the trainer has some flexibility in selecting which parts to emphasise, particularly which exercises to devote most time to.

The module consists of a lecture, which may be copied for the participants, to be followed by discussion on a number of suggested points in a plenary session.

This is followed by a short film, about which there may also be some discussion.

Two exercises are provided: the first involves designing a training programme for the participant's own organization, and the second concerns locating the gender expertise within the participant's own organization. All materials relating to the exercises, including the case study, should be copied for the participants.

All the necessary materials, including the video, are included in the package.

5.3. Lecture

If a gender approach is to be adopted in energy planning, this does not mean setting up a few special projects to try to benefit women. On the contrary, it means that all projects should be viewed through 'the gender specs' (see diagram). It means that gender analytic tools and procedures need to be integrated into the regular pattern of work as carried out by the organization. Thus the attention given to gender (or to 'women') is not special but a normal planning task institutionalised into the routine of office activity. Just as it is increasingly common these days to carry out an environmental impact analysis of any proposed project, so it should be standard practice to carry out a gender analysis in addition. While this does of course entail an increase in the workload of the planners concerned, the chances are that the effectiveness of wood energy projects will be greatly increased if proper attention is given to gender matters. Therefore in the long run, time (and money) will be saved.

The gender-environment 'bifocals' for professionals

However, as we all know, bureaucracies are often slow or even unwilling to make changes in procedures and a number of deliberate steps must be taken to prepare the way for the adoption of the gender approach.

Ensure that there is Visible Support from the Top

In order to ensure that staff do respond and adopt gender analytic procedures, it is essential that a policy directive is promulgated which is clear and definite about what the policy is. Such a policy statement should state not only the organization's policy on gender in general, but also the strategy, i.e. how it intends to ensure that a gender sensitive approach is followed. The policy statement may be rather specific about the procedures which it expects staff to follow in this regard. The policy statement should also indicate the commitment of policy to the gender issue by indicating that staff will be evaluated and promoted on the basis of their implementation of the gender approach (as well as on other criteria). The policy directive should be distributed and discussed throughout the organization.

Select and Design the Gender Analytical Procedures and Prepare a Manual

A standard analytical and reporting approach such as the Harvard Framework, or a standard checklist, can be used; alternatively, an adaptation of such an approach, designed to fit the specialised work of the organization concerned can be made. Mostly, agencies such as energy planning ministries may find it better to create their own standard approach following general guidelines of the Harvard sort. The manual should cover the gender component in all aspects of planning including project formulation, appraisal, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Whatever methods are used must be clearly defined and their use explained in a short manual which should be distributed to all departments together with the policy directive on gender. Obviously such methods should be subject to criticism and revision in time, as experience in using them develops. Where staff experience difficulty in applying the stated methods, it should be clear to them to whom they should turn to for advice, and to whom they can make suggestions regarding the appropriateness of the methods.

Decide Upon an Appropriate Structure and Location for Gender Expertise Within the Organization

A basic question the organization must ask itself is: can we cope with the gender approach with existing staff, by training, or do we need some additional specialised staff?

Let it first be said that training of the existing staff is essential whether or not new specialised staff are recruited. Failure to train existing staff will result in misunderstanding, resentment and outright rejection by them of work done by the new specialised staff. However, the increased workload incurred by the gender analytical procedures may justify the hiring of additional, specialised, staff in the case of large organizations. There may be a minimum requirement of a (new) gender specialist to organize training for staff internally (see below).

Assuming that new staff need to be recruited, the question then becomes, should a special gender unit be set up within the organisation, or should larger units within the organization have a gender specialist attached directly to them? Both models here advantages and disadvantages. There is a danger that a special, separate gender unit may generate conflict and be marginalised within the organization; on the other hand, if it is well managed, it might have sufficient resources to build up a good documentation centre and form a focal point for extending the gender debate within the organization. In comparison, the distribution of a handful of gender experts over the whole organisation would probably lead to fewer situations of conflict, but gender makers may be less visible and have a tendency to be addressed less frequently. Much depends on the existing culture of the organization concerned and its normal working procedures: if it is quite normal that interdepartmental committees exist and if they are effective in other areas, then a 'spread-out' model of gender expertise might be the most effective. In a more 'top-down' type of organization in which directives are generally issued from above without much discussion, then perhaps a separate gender unit is more appropriate. In smaller organizations such a NGOs the matter does not really arise as internal communication is generally much easier.

Even if the budget does not extend to the employment of additional 'gender' staff it is wise in a technical team to ensure that some social scientists are present: if they are already in place, then it may be possible to place the main responsibility for the implementation of the gender approach in their job descriptions (but, as noted already, do not neglect to train the technical team members too: they will not accept advice from the social scientists if they do not see the point of it or understand it). It is not essential that such staff be female, but as there are far more female graduates in social sciences than in technical fields, there is a good chance that they will be. If the 'gender specialist' is indeed a woman, it is important that a man on the staff (technical or non-technical) should be made co-responsible for gender, since it is important that the whole gender issue is not seen just a 'women's business'. The tendency to revert to the notion that gender is about women, and therefore that only women need be concerned about it, is one that has constantly to be combatted in organizations. If the gender issue is seen as such by the majority of (male) staff members, there is a large probability that it will be marginalised.

Institute an On-Going Training Programme

Large organizations such as international donor agencies may have permanent gender experts employed solely to train their own staff. In smaller organizations this is of course not possible, and the choice is to hire in temporary staff to carry out training intermittently, or to allocate the training responsibility to an existing member of staff in addition to his/her existing tasks. It is however important that all staff at policy and implementation levels receive some training. And training should not be considered a 'one-off' exercise: it may be necessary to repeat training sessions or design more advanced ones for some or all staff, as the need arises.

Training should relate as directly as possible to the work of the staff concerned. It should therefore be based on the concrete gender procedures adopted by the organization, and illustrated with exercises and discussion on projects or programmes which the organization is actually involved in. Early preparation of an in-house manual on standard procedures to be used will obviously assist in focusing training on the reality of staff work. However, experience shows that gender training, even when it addresses procedural matters and the manner of carrying out routine analytical tasks, often overflows into much more general discussion and reaming as regards gender in society. Since gender training is in essence not just skills based, but also attitude based, it is very important that sufficient time is allowed in the training sessions for discussion and critique.

The ideal group size for training is 12-15 persons but training programmes can vary from half a day to two weeks in length. It is possible to train each unit within the organization separately (which has the advantage that training case studies can be used which are directly relevant to the work of that unit), but mixing staff from different units is also interesting. Whether staff of greatly differing rank are included in the same workshops will depend on the level of communication that is to be expected if this is done. It is essential that all participants in the training workshops feel able to express their opinions, and if the presence of senior staff suppresses the ability of junior staff to speak out, it is more sensible to provide training by level.

The ideal trainers would be a team of one man and one woman; this combination has been shown time and time again to be very fruitful, indicating to participants that gender is not just about women. Although the basic training materials may be standard, care should be taken that the case studies or examples used are as close to the normal work experience of the participants as possible. Case studies which the participants have to analyze themselves, using the standard procedures adopted by the organization, are without question the most effective way of learning.

From the experiences of major donor organizations with gender training for their own staff, fourteen important lessons can be drawn, which are briefly summarized below:

1 For a full report on gender training within donor organisations, see FAO (1990)

Keep a List of Available Gender Consultants and Rewrite Standard Terms of Reference

Whether for training or for carrying out specialised tasks, it is important that the organization maintains links with a number of gender consultants who can be called upon occasionally. These may be persons acting in an individual capacity or as part of an institution such as a university.

In addition, it would be wise to review the standard guidelines used by the organization both for hiring consultants and for bringing in regular staff. Most guidelines are biased in favour of male candidates; they may need to be rewritten. An example is attached.

Establish a Special Fund

If possible establish a special fund or vote to cover gender related activities such as small seminars, visits of specialists, sending staff to occasional training outside the organization, purchase of books etc.


Network with other organizations that are attempting to bring in a gender-sensitive approach to planning. Make sure that there are lines of communication to important gender groups such as the Ministry of Women's Affairs, major women's NGOs and other technical ministries.

Monitor and Evaluate Progress

Monitor and evaluate the progress made in implementing a gender sensitive planning approach within the organization and be prepared to make adaptations when necessary.

5.4. Annex 1: Discussion questions

Notes for Trainers

Because participants are being asked to consider the questions in relation to their own circumstances, there are no uniform answers to the questions posed in the exercises for this module.

Depending on the size of the workshop, the discussion points following the lecture can probably be posed by the trainer to the plenary session. The exercises based on the film and based on the case study should be done in pairs or possibly in groups of three. The aim of the trainer is simply to allow each participant to think through the situation in his own organization and draw his/her own conclusions. This can be stimulated if the participants are grouped in such a way that they represent distinct organization types. NGO staff should probably be in different groups from ministry staff: country groups of ministry staff should assure some uniformity of experience.

Following discussion in these small groups (15 to 20 minutes for each of the two exercises), each should be asked to present their findings briefly. The trainer should actively seek clarification during these presentations, always asking the 'why' questions (why have you decided on a separate gender unit rather than dispersed gender personnel, why do you think it better to hire in gender trainers rather than train your own staff as trainers, etc). This should result in identification of a number of common concerns from the different groups, to which attention should be drawn.

5.5. Annex 2: Exercise: Design a training programme

Five Key Issues in Gender Training are Considered Below

1 Feldstein, H. & S. Poats, Gender and Agriculture, Volume I: Case Studies, Volume II: Teaching Notes, Kumarian Press


5.6. Annex 3: Case study


Source: C. Moser: Gender planning and development: Theory, practice and training. London: Routledge, 1993

Oxfam is one of Britain's biggest development NGOs with a staff of more than 1000. In 1985 it established a gender unit (Gender and Development Unit, GADU) emphasising the importance of gender specialists. This action was taken after being proposed by a group of women field officers. Initially it was intended as a short term measure and a means to get gender 'onto the agenda'. A decisive force behind GADU was the newly appointed director of Oxfam, who strongly supported the field.

This was not to be the only specialist unit within Oxfam: there were already specialist units dealing with research and evaluation, for example, so there was some precedent. The function of these specialist units within the overall structure of Oxfam is advisory, not mainline.

GADU started work by responding to field requests for advice and funding of projects from its own staff. This was followed by the promotion of the employment of gender project officers to do project work in the field, and more recently by the endorsement of the need for regional offices to develop a gender policy. Networking was identified as a means to influence the attitudes and working practices of the headquarters staff working in Oxford. Training of these staff was not a priority.

Christian Aid, another, but rather smaller UK development NGO, had an internal Women's Group already which drew up a set of organizational recommendations in 1983, which recognised the constraints and blockages to women in development. This group developed into a Women's Forum in 1987 and wrote more recommendations. As in Oxfam, it was a 'back-bencher', or bottom-up staff movement within the organization.

The recommendations of the Women's Group were picked up by another group within the organization concerned with the Aid sector, which recognised that gender issues were not being adequately dealt with in project documents. Thus the Women's Group found sympathizers and support among a broad base of colleagues, which was rather different from the Oxfam case. Unlike Oxfam, Christian Aid has neither field offices nor specialised units at headquarters, and from the start it prioritised training of all staff responsible for project funding decisions. It saw this as a long term effort towards mainstreaming women's issues in development and institutionalised it through the hiring of three gender-aware generalists and a trainer. All four were involved in training in practice. Planning procedures were changed with redesigned checklists for projects and gender guidelines, which were introduced through training.

At Oxfam, GADU is able to act both as a monitoring unit to ensure integration and as a pressure group to ensure that women's issues remain on the agenda. They have been able to produce a number of policy documents on the subject of gender for example, and they argue that the existence of a separate unit was essential to give room for this kind of development.

However, it has not been easy. A considerable amount of conflict has been generated and a large number of complaints has been made. There are many other professionals in the organization who do not regard the unit as central, and at least in the beginning regarded the individual (female) staff of the unit as trouble makers and blamed them for creating conflict within the organization. Today this view of the unit has become generally less acceptable. Now the problem is that people pretend to agree with the unit although in reality they do not.

At Christian Aid, where the mainstream approach was taken in preference to the 'separate' approach, there has certainly been much less conflict over gender matters. The difficulty is to identify who is actually responsible for gender, since everyone passes the buck. The generalists employed to do the gender training have greatly resisted attempts to make them 'the gender unit', since the responsibility is supposed to lie with each and every department. There has been much less activity in developing policy and in networking on gender issues with other NGOs and governments agencies.

Exercise Based on the Case Study

The case study illustrates two different structures for introducing gender issues into planning. Two NGOs have chosen different strategies. List the advantages and disadvantages of a central gender unit compared to 'diffuse' gender expertise throughout the organization. Which model do you think is best suited to your own organization and why?

6. Country papers

6.1. Introduction/Summary

Participants in the Expert Consultation made a number of presentations about the situation in their countries or about the programmes they were associated with. Two of them, from Nepal and the Philippines, deal with attempts of relevant ministries to institutionalize gender concerns in their work. Since the two organizations have only just begun the institutionalization of gender concerns it is still too early to evaluate their attempts. The approaches of the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS) in Nepal and of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in the Philippines are reproduced here at length in the expectation that they will be of use to other organizations that wish to institutionalize gender approaches. This introductory note will touch upon some of the salient points in the various other country presentations.

That women are the main collectors and users of fuelwood was stressed by presentations from all countries. The story was the same, whether for Pakistan, "Women are mainly responsible for meeting both basic needs and household energy needs, through fuel collection, preparation and use, as part of their daily cooking needs" (Sheryar Khan); China, "Women and children are usually the main force in collection and use of firewood, which plays an important role in meeting the basic needs of rural life," (Cai Mantang and Ma Benjing); or Maldives, "Women bear the main burden of gathering and carrying fuel wood to their households.... Almost in all areas, the availability of fuel wood is decreasing, therefore the process of gathering is more laborious and time consuming" (Aminath Shaifa). The overall burden of women's labour is such that they "work more hours, perform more activities and keep themselves busy throughout the year" (S.C. Karmacharya).

But, contrary to the widely-held view which sees women only as domestic drudges, women use woodfuel (or other biomass fuels) not only for domestic cooking but also for small industries, crop drying, etc. (Christina Tjomdroputro). In Bangladesh, for instance, women use such fuels for processing of agricultural produce, such as parboiling of paddy, evaporation of date palm juice, cane-sugar juice, etc. (M. Eusuf).

Further, again contrary to the general view, fuelwood use is not the chief cause of deforestation. In fact, most biomass fuel is not collected from the forest but from the user's immediate environment. More and more users rely on non-wood biomass fuel, as wood fuel has become a luxury in many areas (Christina Tjomdroputro). The analysis of India pointed out that the shortage of fuelwood in rural areas is the result of felling of trees to satisfy urban demands (Pravin Dhamija).

As a consequence of women's responsibilities in the area of wood fuel collection and use, "Rural women are themselves the 'experts', most familiar with the household fuel supply problem as well as the needs and preferences of their families. They are familiar with desirable and undesirable characteristics of tree species, and their different uses. Tree planting and tree maintenance are often done by women traditionally too, though this work is often unrecognized. Women manage fuel supplies on their fallow farms and in some countries practice agroforestry, growing trees for fuel and other uses integrated into their home gardens" (Sheryar Khan).

Nevertheless, as the same Pakistan presentation pointed out, the "need for people's participation in planning and implementing energy programmes has been recognized in many fore. Yet ail too often women's participation has been limited, if recognized at all, to roles as 'beneficiaries' of technologies. And these technologies are generally designed by scientists who have not paid sufficient attention to women's needs or taken into account their knowledge. Moreover, women's interest in the problem and the effects its solution will have on them and their families have generally been neglected. This attitude extends from local extension agents and national authorities to international workshops and conferences on woodstoves and other energy issues where the majority of attendees are invariably male" (Sheryar Khan).

Because in "most rural societies, women and children are not active in any decision making process... their knowledge cannot be fully used and their rights and benefits cannot be well protected" (Cai Mantang and Ma Benjing). Women's exclusion from decision-making was analyzed in the Pakistan presentation as being due to "problems of lesser access to and control over key resources of land, credit, and labour, multiple responsibilities and lack of time, the opposition of men when their traditional rights are threatened, and lower literacy, lesser mobility and more difficult access to information" (Sheryar Khan). Where interventions were made, as in the case of biogas plants, they usually catered to the needs of the large asset owners - as in social forestry programmes that only distribute seedlings in large lots, or biogas plants that require ownership of several animals to provide sufficient dung (Sheryar Khan).

There have been changes, though they have usually been quite limited in scope. In social forestry in India, for example, in order to move beyond the usual women's 'participation' in wage labour and activities like weeding, watering etc. in the Village Forest Committees "efforts have been made to involve Mahila Mandals [women's organizations] but women's involvement is limited due to societal norms that prevent women from participating in community affairs. These problems have been overcome by recruiting Women Village Forest Workers to motivate women and elicit their involvement. In areas where women's organization/Mahila Mandals are active, women are found to have a better understanding of the programmes of Social Forestry" (Pravin Dhamija).

In Indonesia the Ministry of Forestry and Ministry of Women's Affairs collaborated to enhance women's participation in forestry development. As a result of this activity families and people around the forest became aware of issues of sustainability and the environment; there was an increase in the number of women cadres and extension agents in forestry; women's groups were formed for forestry development; women were involved in education and training courses; and women had increased opportunities to earn higher incomes, especially those women who were young, from low-income families or were heads of households. Following this, the Ministry of Forestry has also initiated a special project to involve women's groups in forest and watershed management.

The involvement of women has also taken some unconventional directions, like training women as masons for construction of stoves and biogas plants. "At Kasturbagram, Indore, tribal women of Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh were trained in construction of biogas plants and subsequently involved in these activities" (Pravin Dhamija). Women's organizations and NGOs have also taken up biogas activities. Such new directions can enable women entrepreneurs to develop.

When integrating gender concerns into woodfuel questions and increasing the role of women at various levels in wood fuel management and planning, one has to deal with both women's lack of access to resources and also with the biases of policy makers and planners, who ignore the reality of women's roles and needs, and of strongly entrenched community roles which marginalize women in decisionmaking in the family and the community.

As mentioned above, in the case of Nepal and the Philippines, there were detailed presentations on the approach to integrating gender concerns in to relevant ministries and departments. These two presentations are being reproduced here in the expectation that they will help others in designing and implementing similar efforts.


Cai Mantang and Ma Benjing, A Statement on Gender Issues and Wood Energy in China

Dhamija, Pravin, Women and Wood Energy Development in India

Eusuf, M., Gender and Wood Energy in Bangladesh

Ismuni Women's Participation in Development in Indonesia

Karmacharya, S.C., Gender Issues in Wood Energy in Nepal

Khan, Sheryar, Gender Issues and Wood Energy Pakistan Perspective

Shaifa, Aminath, Woodfuel and Women in Maldives

Tjomdroputro, Christina Aristanti, The Asia Regional Cookstove Program

6.2. Nepal: The gender analysis approach of the water and energy commission secretariat (WECS)

This section is extracted from the Nepal country paper. The paper was written Dr. Govinda Raj Bhatta.

The mandate of the Water and Energy Commission at WECS is to provide necessary advice to the line agencies of His Majesty's Government concerning water and energy resources, to conduct research on the total water and energy resources and requirements of the country, to formulate long term and short term policies for the development of the water and energy sectors, to prepare programs for the conservation, development and beneficial utilization of water and energy resources, to study and analyze aspects of the environment, society and overall economy for water and energy development projects, and to study and analyze national and international laws and prepare necessary laws pertaining to water and energy development in the country.

WECS, with support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) initiated its Women in Development (WID) focus by conducting a six day seminar and training workshop in November, 1991. The goal of this two part workshop was to provide HMG/N with the knowledge and tools to better understand the role of women in the water and energy sectors. The first part of the exercise, entitled 'Women in Water and Energy Development in Nepal', consisted of a review and discussion of papers prepared for the workshop which focused on issues of women as users and managers of water and energy resources. The second part of the workshop, entitled 'Gender Analysis Workshop on Women, Water and Energy: Training and Project Planning' focused on developing a strategy for the effective participation of women in all stages of decision making and management of water and energy sector projects. High level HMG/N policy makers, as well as planners and representatives of non-governmental organizations contributed to this work. In 1993, the WID Section within SEED was formally created. The WID Section is staffed by an HMG/N Social Science Officer and two WID consultants.

WECS aims to address critical gender issues in the energy sector, has developed a plan to identify and integrate relevant WID issues into its work, and has initiated programs to implement the plan. It has begun to integrate gender disaggregated energy consumption data into its extensive data base through fieldwork, has extended the WID section of the documentation center and reference library with Nepalese, regional and international documents, and has initiated workshops and studies on staffing ratios in the Nepal civil service and professional development opportunities for women in Nepal. Future prospectives for WID work are contained in the Recommendations section of this paper. The following are basic WID principles and goals which have been adopted by WECS and form the basis of WID work:

Energy Scarcity: Gender Concerns and WID Constraints in Nepal

Nepal is facing a shortage of natural resources, the most acute problem being that of fuelwood availability. Physical issues directly affecting women include,:

Social issues directly affecting women include:

WECS Guidelines for Incorporation of WID Issues into the Energy Sector

After extensive fieldwork, reviews of literature and interactions with other energy related governmental and non-governmental agencies, WECS has developed the following guidelines to integrate women's needs and concerns into rural energy development.

1. Increasing Women's Participation

2. Increasing Women's Access

3. Information Base

4. Monitoring and Evaluation:

5. Feedback


6.3. The Philippines: Guidelines for integrating gender concerns in the D.A. Planning System

This section is extracted from the country paper of the Philippines. The paper was written by Lorenzo A. Umali


In October 1993, the Department of Agriculture (DA), in cooperation with the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW), started implementing the DA-NCRFW Philippine Development Plan for Women (PDPW) Pilot Project. This was a one year project implemented in all regions of DA to define structures, mechanisms, and processes to initially mainstream gender and development concerns in regional development.

One of the activities under the Project was the formulation of the "Guidelines for Integrating Gender Concerns in the DA Planning System". This document was designed to serve as a guide for agricultural planners and implementors in mainstreaming gender concerns. The Agriculture sector is the largest employer of women, therefore taking a closer look at the status of women vis-a-vis men in agriculture should prove beneficial for them. By analyzing women's specific problems and needs, appropriate solutions and/or interventions will be possible. Further, given the limited financial resources for agriculture, it is imperative that projects and interventions be judiciously distributed.


In line with the objective of the Department to mainstream gender concerns in the development planning process, the DA through the DA-NCRFW Philippine Development Plan for Women (PDPW) Pilot Project organized a Technical Working Group (TWO) composed of planners from the Central Office and representative regional field units. The TWG is tasked to analyze the Grains Production Enhancement Program (GPEP), and to review the NEDA-NCRFW GAD guidelines' for their applicability to agricultural development projects. This was done through a series of workshops and small group discussions.

To test its applicability, the TWG used the NEDA-NCRFW GAD guidelines to analyze GPEP. In the course of the analysis of GPEP for gender-responsiveness, the guidelines prepared by NEDA and NCRFW were also reviewed. As a result of the review, the DA saw the need to draft its own guidelines specifically tailored for agricultural projects using the guidelines developed by NEDA and NCRFW as a model. The guidelines were pre-tested in a workshop using the Medium-Term Livestock Development Program as the final test case. The final document was approved by the regional participants and representatives of the MTADP Program Secretariats for endorsement to the DA Management Committee and is presented below.


These guidelines were formulated to serve as a guide for both agricultural planners and implementors in their efforts to produce gender-responsive plans, programs, and projects.

Pointers to Users

These guidelines will serve as a basic tool in agricultural project planning, implementation and evaluation. The document is divided into four major parts: Program/Project Development, Program/Project Evaluation, Monitoring and Ongoing Evaluation, and Post-Evaluation. Each section provides a brief description of a particular project phase and the most critical criteria that each project must satisfy in a given phase. These guidelines may be used by planners, project developers, managers and implementors, monitors and evaluators. In particular, the Department-wide Project Clearinghouse can use this in the review and prioritization of project proposals for fund sourcing. The monitoring and evaluation portion, on the other hand, may prove useful for the Program Monitoring and Evaluation Division at the Central Office and their regional counterparts.

Program/Project Development

1. Project Identification

This phase is concerned with generating ideas that represent a high priority use of resources to achieve an important development objective. This is the process of deciding what kind of project is most needed and appropriate, given the development requirements at a particular time and place.

Needs Assessment

Needs Prioritization

Identification of Interventions and Available Resources/Prioritization of Interventions

2. Project Preparation/Formulation

This stage involves the designing of the identified project in detail so that all the necessary inputs are properly identified. At this stage, project objectives are identified, project implementation strategies are packaged, resource requirements are determined, the project organizational structure is set up, and a monitoring and evaluation system is designed.

Formulation of Objectives

Project objectives should: (a) directly address the sectoral/regional program thrusts and the gender issues therein; (b) have a quantifiable and verifiable set of indicators that are gender-responsive; (c) address identified problems as they relate to the different needs of both men and women and their varying characteristics; and (d) be capable of being implemented, measurable, and attainable within the project life span.

Formulation of Project Implementation Strategies

The formulation of the project implementation strategies should:

Determination of Resource Requirements

Resource requirements should be determined on the basis of: (a) existing programs and personnel that can provide the services; (b) availability of indigenous resources; and (c) the beneficiaries' capabilities and willingness to contribute to the project/program. The beneficiaries' potential contribution should be estimated to make possible a clear allocation of resources per project activity. Steps must be taken to ensure that both women and men are capable of participating at any given time, either through skills enhancement or freeing-up the women from some of their reproductive activities by encouraging men to share the load.

Design of the Project Organizational Structure

The organizational structure should be set up based on the technical needs of the project (e.g. community development concerns, GAD concerns, etc.). The structure should also identify the interrelationships of the agencies, project staff, and target beneficiaries involved in the project. The proposed organizational structure should at the very beginning include implementors who are aware of gender related issues, as well as have other skills. In the absence of available gender-aware implementors, appropriate GAD training should be provided prior to implementation. It should identify the roles that community members (beneficiaries) will assume in project implementation.

Design of Project Monitoring and Evaluation System

The design of an M&E system should take into account, among other concerns, the development of a gender-responsive indicator system, and the participation of beneficiaries in M&E.

3. Investment Program Formulation

This should include:

In formulating the IP, the following should be considered:

4. Program/Project Evaluation

This involves a close analysis of the prepared project to ensure that it meets relevant planning and investment criteria and that adequate arrangements for its implementation have been made. The project should be evaluated based on general guidelines (e.g. consistency with national, sectoral, and regional thrusts, etc.) and specific guidelines (e.g. technical, financial, and economic aspects of the project).


The program/project should be consistent with the national, regional, and sectoral thrusts


Technical Analysis

Financial Analysis

Economic Analysis

Social Analysis

Environmental Impact Analysis

1 Goals and Principals of Environmental Impact Assessment Decision 14/25 of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), of 17 June 1987.

Operational Viability

Program/Project Implementation

Project Execution System

Monitoring and Ongoing Evaluation

The project's Monitoring and Evaluation (M & E) System should generate sex disaggregated data which will indicate:

Ongoing evaluation, on the other hand, should be able to provide project management with information (using the M&E system as a tool) for immediate corrective action, if found necessary. The project can also be redesigned based on lessons learned from ongoing project evaluation studies.

Post Evaluation

Post evaluation involves the systematic and objective assessment of completed development projects. It is undertaken to determine whether the objectives were attained, to assess project impacts (both positive and negative effects) and to assess the project's sustainability in the long term.

In the conduct of a post-evaluation for agricultural development projects, the following items must be taken into account:

The following items must be examined in evaluating impacts of agricultural development projects:

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