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Home > Water and food issues > Mainstreaming Gender

Incorporating gender into research can increase productivity and improve livelihoods

The Challenge Program on Water and Food’s stated aim is to “increase the resilience of social and ecological systems through better water management for food production”. A focus on gender will make our research more relevant to the development outcomes we seek.

For some time now, CPWF has been ‘talking’ gender. In fact, one of CPWF’s core principles highlights gender and diversity. But what has CPWF contributed to date? One of the key lessons learned at our 3rd International Forum on Water and Food November 2011 was a recognition that addressing gender imbalances is critical for research-for-development; it is something that will require a more prominent gender perspective from all CPWF projects.

We hope our renewed effort to raise awareness about the importance of proactively incorporating gender into water and food research will pioneer future work under the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems.

Browse the tabs to learn more!


CPWF’s Strategy

Mainstreaming Gender in the CPWF: An Overview: What does ‘mainstreaming gender’ mean and how is it relevant to CPWF? How is gender mainstreaming incorporated into CPWF’s work?


CPWF carried out gender mainstreaming activities at the basin and program level. Basins made use of two tools: the gender and equity checklist and the gender audit tool.

1) Gender and Equity Checklists: Gender aware research is critical to both good science and development outcomes, yet it is often unclear how to practically apply a gender lens when developing and revising research design, activities or outputs. This checklist, offers some hands-on guidance on how to do this. The yes/no questions allow researchers to more easily identify whether current and planned activities adequately consider gender.

2) Gender Audit Tool: The BDC gender audit framework is a simple tool developed to assess where and how gender is evident across BDC projects. The framework guides the user through a series of steps to review project documents and processes to identify how gender has been addressed in proposal and project design and implementation. The audit tool is not meant to generate an in-depth analysis of gender within projects or BDCs, but to serve as a baseline of how gender was conceptualized in design and development.

Examples of gender mainstreaming activities in the CPWF basin programs:

  • Andes gender discussion
  • Overview of efforts to facilitate gender integration into projects in the Ganges
  • Why gender matters for farming in the Limpopo and how multiple use water services benefit women
  • Considerations of gender in Mekong projects
  • Gender interventions and gender equity in the Nile

Program Level Gender Mainstreaming Activities

CPWF convened a session on gender at the Third International Forum on Water and Food, held in South Africa in November 2011.

In February 2012, a gender conversation and planning day was held with the CPWF management team. During this meeting, concrete activities were planned to move forward with mainstreaming gender in CPWF research.

Lessons Learned

Gender in the CPWF: Lessons Learned: An overview of how the CPWF program level treated gender, some of the outcomes of gender mainstreaming, and recommendations for how it can be done better in the future.


Stories related to gender from CPWF. 


For more information contact or .

CPWF Gender Resource List

Books and Articles

Baden, S. and Goetz, A. M. 1998: Who needs [sex] when you can have [gender]?: Conflicting discourses on gender in Beijing. In Jackson, C. and Pearson, R.., (Eds) ( 1998), Feminist Visions of Development: Gender Analysis and Policy. London: Routledge

Cleaver, F. and K. Hamada. 2010. “Good Water Governance and Gender equity: A troubled Relationship,” Gender and Development. 18: 1, 27-41

Dixon, R. B. 1985. Seeing the Invisible Women Famers in Africa: Improving research and data collection methods. In J. Monson and M. Halls (Eds). Women as Farm Producers in Developing Countries (pp 19-35) Davis CA: UCLA

Jensen, Robert. (1998). Men’s Lives and Feminist Theory. In Conway-Turner, Kate (eds.). Women’s Studies in Transition: The Pursuit of Interdisciplinary. Newark: University of Delaware Press (first published in Race, Gender, and Class, 2(2), winter 1995).

Kolb, D. M. and J Williams, (2000) The Shadow Negotiation: How Women Can Master the Hidden Agendas That Determine Bargaining Success .New York: Simon & Schuster,

Mead, Margaret. 1976. A Comment on the Role of Women in Agriculture. Pp. 9-11 in I. Tinker and M. Bo Bramsen (eds.). 1976. Women and World Development. Washington DC: Overseas Development Council.

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

Ostergaad, L. 1992. Gender In Ostergaad, L. (Ed) 2002. Gender and Development: A practical Guide. London: Routledge

Rocheleau, D., B. Thomas-Slayter & E. Wangari. (eds.). 1996. Feminist Political Ecology: global issues and local experiences. London & New York: Routledge

Roy, A. 2001 Power Politics. Cambridge, USA: South End Press
Shiva, Vandana. 2002. Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit. Cambridge, MA:

Southend Press.

Weismantel, M. J. (1988). Food, Gender, and Poverty in the Ecuadorian Andes. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Toolkits and Manuals

CAP-NET, GWA 2006. Why Gender Matters: a tutorial for water managers. Multimedia CD and booklet. CAP-NET International network for Capacity Building in Integrated Water Resources Management, Delft.

The World Bank/IFPRI Volume on Gender and Governance in Rural Services.

Gender in Agriculture Sourcebook (2009). World Bank.

Eldis Manual on gender in water management. manuals&id=43243&type=Document

IFPRI publications on gender: The IFPRI gender webpage.

Engendering Agricultural Research (DP).

Review of empirical evidence on gender differences in non-land inputs.

Using Gender Research in Development.

World Bank eAtlas of Gender.

Working Documents

Meinzen-Dick, R., N. Johnson, A. Quisumbing, J. Njuki, J. Behrma, D. Rubin, A. Peterman and E. Waitanji.2011. Gender Assets and Agricultural Development Programs: A conceptual Framework. CAPRi Working Paper No. 99 International Food Policy Research Institute: Washington, DC..

Quisumbing, A. R., ed. 2003. Household Decisions, Gender, and Development: A Synthesis of Recent Research. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute.

Conference Papers

White, Sarah (1997) ‘Men, Masculinities and the Politics of Development’ Gender and Development 7 (2):14-22 (Oxfam).

Gendered impacts of the 2007-08 food price crisis: Evidence using panel data from rural Ethiopia
2011. Kumar, Neha; Quisumbing, Agnes R. IFPRI Discussion Paper 1093. Washington, D.C. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

El-Bushra, Judy. 2000. Rethinking Gender and Development Practice for the Twenty- First Century. Gender and Development Vol. 8 (1): 55-62

UF Farming Systems virtual library.