Gender Action Mainstreaming for Empowerment to Change


Women's Rights | Women's empowerment | Working with men | Participation | Wealth Creation | Sustainability |
Rocky Road Framework and Tools| GALS Processes | Diamond Forest | FALS |
Livelihoods | Business | Markets | Value chains | Financial Services | Policy |
Advocacy | Research |

Why livelihoods?

Taking a holistic view of livelihoods, combining reproductive as well as productive roles can increase incomes and profits, control costs and expenditures and promote more efficient division or labour and decision making.

There are often a range of types of informal as well as formal collaboration which can increase profits, reduce time in marketing and increase access to information and resources and ultimately increase negotiating power at all levels.

Sustainable livelihood development

Since the 1970s many development agencies have developed participatory methodologies for sustainable livelihood development as part of poverty reduction programmes. Many focus on developing opportunities through product or market diversification for the local market which can be controlled and independently developed by poor women and men as one dimension of developing skills, knowledge, increasing choices and strengthening bargaining power. These have often focused on cooperative development and marketing support to replace intermediaries, and since 1990s micro-finance and more recently financial education.


  • Significant increases in incomes often requires changes in markets and other levels of the value chain.

  • Most current methodologies are designed for growth-oriented entrepreneurs and smallholders rather than the very poor. Most require a certain level of literacy and/or business experience and/or resources before they are effective.

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Gender issues

  • Gender relations within households are still often regarded as a ‘no go black box’
  • Interventions fail to address underlying gender inequalities causing inefficiencies in livelihoods and businesses.

  • Although services are targeted to women, many are technical and do not explicitly address gender inequalities.
  • Gender dimensions of livelihoods are rarely mentioned in livelihoods strategies for men.
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Examines gender inequalities at individual, household and community levels for women and men as part of increasing the efficiency, sustainability and growth of livelihoods.

The process catalyses individual changes, giving women and men the skills to identify business opportunities, ways of improving livelihoods and improving gender relations.

The starting points are the needs and interests of very poor women and men

Other stakeholders in markets and value chains are encouraged to examine gender inequalities in their households as part of increasing the effectiveness of their business strategies.

See GALS Growing the Diamond Forest

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