Integration of gender transformative approaches for equitable and resilient livelihoods southern Africa

Gender-transformative approaches (GTAs) in development, humanitarian, or conservation work have never been more critical, given multiple and convergent global threats, particularly climate change, biodiversity loss, and conflict. Pervasive inequality underpins the differentiated impacts of these threats – something that was tragically exposed (and is still felt) during the COVID-19 pandemic and more recently with the growing global food insecurity crisis. These chronic challenges and extreme events disproportionately impact women and girls especially in countries with developing economies because they are already at higher risk due to many intersectional and compounding factors.  

An expanding body of evidence reveals significant gender differences in resilient capacities and preferences to address these pressing global challenges. Gender transformation—which enables men and women to fully enjoy their rights—is an essential component to resilient development. For this to happen, power needs to be evaluated and redistributed, and inequalities need to be addressed and mitigated. This requires attention to social norms, societal dynamics, institutional control, and other factors that produce and perpetuate power inequalities and ultimately impact people’s vulnerability and response to potentially debilitating shocks and stressors. 

This working group—comprising of researchers, advocates, and practitioners—uses a gender equality framework to explore cross-scalar aspects of resilience, how gender transformation drives resilience building, and how gender transformation contributes to equitable and resilient livelihoods, specifically among small-scale farmers in Southern Africa. Through reflection, synthesis, and narrative-building, we explore the impact gender transformation has on resiliency and resilience capacities across scales. We demonstrate the practical value and importance of integrating GTAs into programs and practice and identify key pathways to equitable and resilient livelihoods in an increasingly insecure world.

Working group members

Caitlin Shannon, PhD, Research and Inquiry Lead, CARE USA
Christine Lamanna, PhD, Food Systems Scientist, ICRAF
Amanda West, CARE USA, Atlanta, GA, United States 
Chikondi Chabvuta, Southern Africa Regional Advocacy Coordinator, CARE
Ellen Matupi Rural Women’s Assembly Lilongwe, Malawi 
Karl Deering, Partnerships lead and Gender Cohort member, CARE
Patience Mgoli-Mwale CARE USA, Lilongwe, Malawi 
Sithembile Mwamakamba, Director of Policy Research and Analysis, FANRPAN