About (English version): 

This set of policy briefs seeks to address some of the most pressing policy issues concerning gender and climate change, by drawing on the extensive experience of each contributing partner organization. Our hope is that the concise and empirically grounded recommendations in each brief can provide guidance to policy makers and programmers to better identify and address gender issues in climate policy and action.

The briefs focus on a number of pressing issues such as gender equality in climate change adaptation and mitigation, gender- responsive financing, and gender-sensitive monitoring of sustainable development achievements.

We also report on the status of gender integration in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations as we enter the 21st Conference of Parties, and highlight the measures that need to be taken to ensure the new global agreement reduces women’s vulnerability and promotes the goals of gender equality. 

The problem

Farmers’ own seed systems are at the heart of food security. These systems are currently under stress due to political, social, economic and environmental changes. Women farmers play key roles in these systems. However, they are often overlooked by researchers and development personnel, policies and programs. 


Almost everywhere, local seed systems – from selection, to storage, production, distribution and exchange − are under stress. Agricultural modernization (for example, substitution of local varieties with hybrids), privatization of natural resources and the strong concentration and expansion of corporate power in the life science industries (including the seed industry) are contributing to a decline in collective local management of plant genetic resources for both conservation and sustainable use. Many farming households have become more individualized in terms of decision-making and use of knowledge, labor, capital and seeds. 

Key messages

  • Women farmers play key roles in local seed systems although they are often overlooked by researchers and development personnel, policies and programs.

  • Climate change is putting pressure on farmers’ seed and food production systems, often resulting in different impacts on women and men.

  • Crop and varietal conservation and diversification can be effective adaptation strategies to respond to changing farming conditions and increased uncertainty.

  • Women are at the forefront of implementing such new strategies, but more attention and support are needed from research and development agencies and from practitioners. 

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