Harnessing Gender and Social Equality for Resilience in Agrifood Systems


Gender and social inequalities are deeply entrenched within our global agrifood systems. This limits the potential of women—especially those from agriculture-dependent communities—to be empowered and to build social, economic and technological resilience to climate change. Women taking up their rightful roles to co-develop and co-design solutions is essential to successfully transforming agrifood systems in a climate crisis.

Existing evidence shows how structural gender inequalities such as harmful norms, unequal responsibilities and restrictive masculinities (rigid and inflexible notions and expectations) make women vulnerable to shocks and stressors such as climate change, conflict, state fragility and pandemics like COVID-19, and how gender transformative approaches can boost climate resilience among women. Despite significant research, gender equality has yet to become a reality, and critical evidence gaps persist.

For example, sociotechnical innovations targeting climate resilience are not adequately designed or bundled to encourage uptake by women. They are also not scaled at the pace or volume required for system transformation. Social protection systems often fail to address constraints faced by women that prevent resilience to climate change. And agrifood system governance structures—that is, the institutions and mechanisms by which decisions are made, implemented and decision-makers held accountable—often significantly disfavor women, perpetuating their lack of access to the resources and services that support resilience to climate change. More work is needed to address inequality and transform agrifood systems.


This Initiative aims to use impactful gender research to address the four dimensions of gender inequality by applying gender-transformative approaches to address harmful norms, bundling innovations for women’s empowerment, leveraging social protection to increase women’s access to and control over resources, and promoting inclusive governance and policies for increased resilience.