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Advancing gender equality for rural women in treed landscapes: 10 years of FTA (Vol. 5, Issue 4)

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FTA communications

Welcome to the October issue of the FTA Newsletter, on the occasion of the International Day of Rural Women (IDRW). This issue is special: as CGIAR research programs are coming to an end in December, this will be the last gender newsletter of the FTA program as we know it. For this reason, we asked our Gender team members to leave us with a personal statement about their experience in this decadal journey.
On the one hand, we look back at the incredible work carried out by the FTA scientific community during these 10 years. On the other hand, we look ahead to future gender research that builds on the lessons learned and achievements of the FTA program in creating more equitable, inclusive and sustainable forest, tree and agroforestry landscapes – especially for rural women.
“Working as part of the FTA Gender team has been an incredible experience. We addressed gender challenges and concerns across different geographies, tackling a broad array of resource governance issues. The achievements and learnings stemming from FTA’s work are tremendous both in terms of conceptual and methodological development. I look forward to leveraging as we continue this collaborative work despite the formal end of FTA.”
Iliana Monterroso, Scientist and Co-coordinator of Gender and Social Inclusion Research

This year’s IDRW theme focuses on the critical role of rural women in “cultivating good for all”. Women are the custodians of household food security, on the front line in fighting extreme malnutrition, poverty and hunger. They are also a huge and underrecognized agricultural labour force worldwide. Yet, systemic barriers discriminate against them and exclude them from important natural resource management and livelihood decisions.
Concerns for gender equality and social inclusion have been carefully integrated in FTA since its very beginning. In addition to conducting research specifically on gender and on women’s and men’s empowerment, FTA has mainstreamed gender throughout its research portfolio, aiming to make transformative change at multiple scales, from local to global levels. Our researchers have worked tirelessly to lift gender-based barriers at all levels, from policies and other formal institutions to social norms and unequal intra-household power relations, to support rural women’s agency.
“The knowledge, partnerships and learning gathered throughout the life of the FTA program confirm that achieving gender equality requires challenging power relations, at the household level, at the community level and within ourselves as researchers. This requires involving men and boys in efforts to empower women and working with households to acknowledge shared and conflicting interests within the home, allowing gender inequalities to be recognized as a constraint to resilience, prosperity and sustainability. FTA has contributed to understanding how a more equal world is good for trees, forests and people.”
Ana Maria Paez Valencia, Gender Specialist

“The FTA Gender cross-cutting theme has provided a rare and essential opportunity for researchers to advance with the gender questions, join critical communities of practice and try new approaches to addressing complex problems that are rooted in the imbalances across the gender spectrum. I hope to see our good work live on through the legacy of FTA gender team collaboration and synthesis research.”
Emily Jeanne Gallagher, Scientist

The partnerships and coalitions, research findings and innovations of FTA, and the change these have effected on the ground will have a long-lasting impact. The talent and resources FTA has invested in supporting the amazing energy and agency of rural women, men and all the other actors championing gender equality, set a clear pathway on which efforts to achieve gender equal and inclusive forests and agroforestry landscapes and societies can be sustained.

Many issues that FTA was designed to investigate were originally dominated by technical or biophysical views and perspectives (such as for instance climate change mitigation, forest land restoration, tree commodity production and preserving forests, and so on). On these issues, FTA has pushed the cursor of policies and approaches to make them more “people-centred”, and especially also more inclusive and more equitable towards women. As we will show in the soon to come series on “FTA Highlights of a Decade”, this has contributed to effectively changing narratives, and to concrete progress on the ground.

We hope that the achievements of FTA’s dedicated scientific community in this area will continue to inspire gender specialists working in tree, forest and agroforestry landscapes for a better world.

Vincent Gitz, FTA Director and Marlène Elias, FTA Gender Research Coordinator

Special feature

A feminist approach to restoration – Interview with Marlène Elias

imagethumb.jpgIn a special issue of Ecological Restoration titled “Restoration for whom, by whom: Exploring the socio-political dimensions of restoration”, scientists make the case for exploring these dimensions through the lens of feminist political ecology. We spoke with Marlène Elias, FTA’s Coordinator of Gender Equality and Social Inclusion who was co-guest editor of the special issue. Read more.


Gender-transformative pathways in the regreening landscapes of Ghana

imagethumb.jpgAs part of Regreening Africa’s effort to meaningfully integrate gender issues, an innovative study was set up to determine whether taking an explicitly gender-transformative approach to land restoration in Ghana would not only foster changes in harmful gender norms and attitudes but also contribute to desirable environmental outcomes. Read more about it here!

From Tree to Fork is growing!

imagethumb.jpgMore foods from trees are being added weekly to our FTA campaign on fruits and vegetables, accompanied by incredibly beautiful infographics. The campaign has also been launched in Spanish. Stay updated with our weekly entries, visit the dedicated website!

The rise and fall of rubber: effects on women and livelihoods

imagethumb.jpgRubber expansion and decline have major implications for Chinese farmers, particularly women, and their livelihoods. In this feature, we examine the impact on women in Xishuangbanna, China’s ‘rubber heartland’. Read more.

Transforming gender norms in land and resource rights

imagethumb.jpgA new research project between a consortium of CGIAR Centres and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will generate evidence on the potential contribution of different kinds of gender transformative approaches for achieving more equitable and fairer outcomes for men and women in accessing and controlling land and its resources. Read about it!

Shaping a future that ensures women are at the center of the Ghana shea trade

imagethumb.jpgSix villages in Ghana faced with resource, soil and land use changes participated in social learning-oriented activities to explore customary systems of land and tree tenure and women’s access to resources. More about this learning experience.

Food Systems Summit reveals challenges of transforming global food production

imagethumb.jpgGovernments, companies and other organizations offered more than 200 commitments at the world’s first food systems summit aimed at addressing unequal access to food in a more sustainable, healthier and equitable way. Read about the UNFSS.

Banner photo by O. Girard/CIFOR. News photos, from top, by: Ana Maria Paez Valencia/ICRAF; ICRAF; Aulia Erlangga/CIFOR; Axel Fassio/CIFOR; Giulio Napolitano/UN Photo.

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Women's Changing Opportunities and Aspirations Amid Male Outmigration: Insights from Makueni County, Kenya


Onto the Farm, into the Home: How Intrahousehold Gender Dynamics Shape Land Restoration in Eastern Kenya


Disciplines, Sectors, Motivations and Power Relations in Forest Landscape Restoration


Exploring Gender Equity in Ecological Restoration: The Case of a Market-Based Program in Kenya


Equitable and Inclusive Landscape Restoration Planning: Learning from a Restoration Opportunity Assessment in India


Restoration of Urban Water Commons: Navigating Social-Ecological Fault Lines and Inequities


Enhancing synergies between gender equality and biodiversity, climate, and land degradation neutrality goals: Lessons from gender-responsive nature-based approaches


Améliorer les droits et les vies des femmes grâce à une restauration équitable entre les sexes


Ten people-centered rules for socially sustainable ecosystem restoration


Restoration for Whom, by Whom? A Feminist Political Ecology of Restoration


Three Approaches to Restoration and Their Implications for Social Inclusion


Implementation of gender responsive research in development projects


Gender and Ethnicity in Vietnam Agroforestry Landscapes: Lessons for Project Implementation


What Is the Evidence Base Linking Gender with Access to Forests and Use of Forest Resources for Food Security in Low- and Middle-Income Countries? A Systematic Evidence Map


Mainstreaming gender in REDD+ policies and projects in 17 countries

The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) is the world’s largest research for development program to enhance the role of forests, trees and agroforestry in sustainable development and food security and to address climate change. CIFOR leads FTA in partnership with ICRAF, the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, CATIE, CIRAD, INBAR and TBI.


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