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Catalyzing Gender-Forests Actions


Taking gender into consideration in relation to forests matters because how, why and where men and women access, use and manage forests differs. These differences matter for the design of policies, institutional arrangements and interventions aimed at supporting sustainable forest landscapes.  For instance, men have been found to dominate forest user groups and organizations involved in forest management, so enhancing women’s presence in community institutions of forest governance considerably improved resource conservation and regeneration in Nepal and India.

Persistent gender gaps remain across all regions in: access to services, access to markets and value-addition activities, land and tree tenure, voice and agency, and hiring labor. In addition to these, gender differences in the capacity for addressing climate change has been recognized as an issue that affects not only productivity but widens existing gender gaps in many places. And in some areas, men’s migration from rural areas has left women to assume the spectrum of agricultural and forest management roles, often without the resources or agency to do so successfully. But the challenges and appropriate solutions are not the same everywhere, which is why gender analysis to identify critical gender gaps at the project inception stage is so important. 


There are 2 main outcomes that this activity aims to achieve:

1.  Within PROFOR: every PROFOR activity has clear gender-related objectives and actions identified and being implemented. This implies that team task leaders (TTL’s) recognize the importance of gender issues, identify how a project can contribute to closing relevant gender gaps, and have efficient tools and new knowledge as to how best to address gender challenges.The goal is to see improved project and program design and implementation of gender ‘best practices’, leading to projects that are more inclusive and able to measure improved equity impacts.

2.  Across WBG forestry-related operations and investments: policy, operational and institutional changes within the WBG that show greater gender-responsiveness, leading to national and subnational partners also incorporating gender responsiveness into their policies and strategies.

Both of these outcomes will be achieved by working closely with task team leaders and other stakeholders and sharing knowledge of practices that are starting to generate sought-after gender outcomes in relation to forest-related projects, programs and investments – e.g. through a gender portfolio review, an e-book focusing on forests, poverty and gender, seminars, a forests-gender guidance note, trainings, events and presentations.  Lessons learned in the agriculture sector and case studies that demonstrate the kinds of gender actions that can make a big difference will be shared with project leaders, e.g. through concept note and proposal reviews, guides, briefs, etc.


The underlying theory of change of this work is that through greater awareness of the relative lack of targeted gender efforts in many forests projects and programs, and a better understanding of the kinds of actions that could be, and are being, successfully undertaken in some, that project teams will include gender-targeted investments and actions in their plans from the outset, starting at the design stage.

This activity officially started in November 2016, but there are several outputs that are now available, including:

  • A guidance note entitled ‘Gender and Forest Landscapes: Enhancing Development Impacts of Projects and Programs’. It provides suggestions for developers and leaders of forests projects and programs to enhance participation by, benefits to, and empowerment of women and other potential beneficiaries with limited voice and agency. The guide identifies potential gender-responsive activities and actions that can be included throughout the project cycle.
  • Key resources are available for project designers, researchers, development practitioners and others with an interest in understanding the issues related to, and links between, forests and gender, including: 1) An annotated bibliography of gender and forests literature (broadly defined to include landscapes with forests and agroforestry); 2) A guide that describes a range of tools and approaches freely available for the study and analysis of issues related to forest-gender/poverty issues.
  • A Gender focused Portfolio Review of Forest Projects for the Environment and Natural Resources Program on Forests of the Wold Bank analyzes the forest portfolio for the past 5 years (FY11-16), identifying projects that include gender-related dimensions related to analyses, actions, and indicators for monitoring and evaluating progress towards gender-related outcomes. A brief is also available on the the portfolio review.

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Last Updated : 09-21-2017