Forests, food security and nutrition: What’s gender got to do with it?

To be published

Shattuck A and Asher K.

Hunger remains a key development problem in the twenty-first century. Ensuring food security for the world’s population is compounded by the rapid rates of climate change, the environmental, economic and social effects of which are borne unequally across the world. Within this context, there is renewed attention on the importance of forests, especially their role in supplementing the food and nutritional needs of rural populations. With a concurrent uptake of “gender mainstreaming” for sustainable development, there is also a call for understanding the gendered dynamics of forest management and food security.

This study reviews the emerging research on forests and food security, and on the ways gender is said to matter. This literature echoes insights from early gender scholarship that women have key roles and responsibility in agricultural production and resource management; gender disparities are pervasive, and influence efforts to improve food security and forest management. The analytical and empirical work on gender also reveals that there is much heterogeneity among women, and that their social positions depend not just on their relations with men, but are interconnected with their class, ethnicity, geographic location and age. In order to understand and address the increasingly urgent problem of hunger, we need to revisit the critical lessons from 40 years of gender and development scholarship.

To learn more about this project, contact Annie Shattuck,