In the Global South, livestock has strong empowerment potential for millions of women by providing protein-rich food for home consumption and sale, strengthening their role as stakeholders.

However, in many rural communities, gender norms shape how household members manage and share livestock and their benefits, often in ways that disadvantage women and girls. For example, women graze small livestock species, while men own larger, more profitable animals. Cultural norms can also forbid women from farm labor and may limit their access to land and fodder, restricting their ability to develop their livestock holdings and farm independently.

Dr. Dina Najjar, ICARDA’s Gender Scientist, has published a paper that explores women’s experiences with livestock-based livelihoods and technological innovations by studying 73 village cases from 13 countries. The study follows a gender empowerment framework that analyzes the recognition of women as livestock keepers, their access to resources and opportunities, and their ability to make decisions.

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