Gender issues in dryland areas . Women as key stakeholders in combating desertification
Women’s resource access rights more precarious, under-rated and -valued work, under-representation in decision-making and leadership structures…Yet women are active in defending their rights and combating desertification, i.e. many are involved in counteracting land degradation or even in its restoration via associations, farmers’ organizations and individual initiatives. Operators and policymakers must now take these women stakeholders into better account, as they are too often overlooked in policies to combat desertification.
- The land desertification process is generally the result of human activities carried out at different scales and exacerbated by global environmental change. Yet the livelihoods of people in rural communities are highly dependent on the quality and diversity of ecosystem resources.
- These societies are characterized by a high level of sexual division of labour, activities and responsibilities and hence desertification does not affect men and women in the same spheres.
- Women—in addition to their farming activities, particularly growing subsistence crops—shoulder most tasks encompassed by the social reproduction concept (e.g. domestic activities, child- and elder-care). This unpaid yet essential work is time consuming and restricts women’s mobility.
In dryland countries with low human development rates, women’s heavy and arduous workloads increase when resources such as water, fuel wood or products gathered for food, medicinal purposes or handicrafts are in short supply.
Women’s resource access rights are also more precarious, and their work is under-rated and -valued.
Moreover, women are under-represented in decision making and leadership structures, while being constrained by social norms that often relegate them to inferior roles, and their rights are further eroded when resource competition intensifies.
But women are also active in defending their rights and combating desertification, i.e. many are involved in counteracting land degradation or even in its restoration via associations, farmers’ organizations and individual initiatives. Operators and policymakers must now take these women stakeholders into better account, as they are too often overlooked in policies to combat desertification. Read more about French Scientific Committee on Desertification (CSFD)
Further reading from UNCCD Library:
- A thematic sheet summarizes this dossier you can find it in our library as well , see: Gender issues in arid zones . Women: actors in the combat against desertification
- More CSFD publications series in our collection
and more on gender related issues:
- Read the Global Gender Gap 2020 report here
- A Manual for Gender-responsive Land Degradation Neutrality Transformative Projects and Programmes
- Gender related resources from our Library Knowledge Hub section and Library online catalogue
- Land Degradation Neutrality and gender equality
- Gender aspects in action- and outcome-based payments for ecosystem services—A tree planting field trial in Kenya ( article)
- Women and land management ( infographic)
- UNFPA: A look back at the 2010s: A decade of voices and choices
- UNFPA: The Inter-Agency Minimum Standards for Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies Programming - FAQs
- IPS: More Women in Tech Will Lead to Peaceful Gender Equal World
- Plan: COP25: Outcomes lack urgency and ignore girls’ voices
- SIPRI: Is the United Nations Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy on track to reach its goals?
- World Bank Gender Data portal
- OECD Gender Data Portal
- Gender and Land rights database - FAO