Gender and Climate Change Research in Agriculture and Food Security for Rural Development
is a detailed training guide produced by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security
and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations
(FAO). The guide’s purpose is to support “work to investigate the gender dimensions of responding to climate change in the agriculture and food sectors…to improve food production, livelihood security and gender equality
.” The authors write that “the number of hungry people in the world could be reduced by more than 100 million if women in rural areas were given equal access to the same resources as men.” The guide focuses on sensitizing researchers and practitioners “to the links between socio-economic and gender issues” and provides a suite of tools for gathering data about the gender and climate change aspects of agricultural development. Along with concrete tools to understand and address gender inequities in agricultural development, the report adopts a nuanced social definition of gender in which “people are born female or male, but learn to be women and men,” keeping the focus squarely on the socio-economic and political barriers to full equality.
A report from the Berlin Institute for Population and Development, Africa’s Demographic Challenges: How A Young Population Can Make Development Possible, argues that “if mortality and fertility decrease” across the African continent, there will be a “demographic bonus.” If nurtured through ample investment in human capital, this bonus may become a “demographic dividend,” as growing numbers of working-age people participate in the economy. The report argues that taking advantage of this demographic window, however, requires policy actions that both encourage fertility reductions and foster economic development throughout the continent, declaring boldly that “high birth rates and development are mutually exclusive.” Thus, according to the authors, the pathway to development is supporting the empowerment and education of women and girls, strengthening reproductive health services, and ensuring that both young women and young men are able to engage socio-economically within their societies. Though the report’s argument that demographic change can be critical for development is convincing, the form, strength, and causal direction of these linkages at times becomes confused.