Gendered agrobiodiversity management and adaptation to climate change

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Social and cultural contexts influence power dynamics and shape gender perceptions, roles, and decisions regarding the management of agrobiodiversity for dealing with and adapting to climate change.

Based on a feminist political ecology framework and a mixed method approach, this research performs an empirical analysis of two case studies in the northern of India, one in the Himalayan Mountains and another in the Indian-Gangetic plains. It explores context-specific (i) influence of gender roles and responsibilities on on-farm agrobiodiversity management (ii) gendered expertise and knowledge related to agrobiodiversity and (iii) gendered preferences for practices and institutional arrangements for agrobiodiversity conservation linked to adaptation to climate change. In the Himalayan mountains women actively participate in crop and seed management decisions and tasks, and maintain informal institutions for seed and services exchanges in the case of crisis, which simultaneously favours high levels of agrobiodiversity and enhances women’s social status.

By contrast, in the Indio-Gangetic plains, where women from better-off households are socially secluded and women from poorer households work mainly as labourer to respond to high out-migration of men, they exercise less public control over agrobiodiversity, with their role being mainly invisible at the homestead and related to post-production tasks. We finally discuss as improved understanding of the links between gendered spaces, crops, tasks, social status, and agrobiodiversity management can facilitate the design of gender-sensitive policy interventions for conservation and adaptation to climate change.

Ravera, F.; Reyes-García, V.; Pascual, U.; Drucker, A.G.; Tarrasón, D.; Bellon, M.R.

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