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close this bookResource Management for Upland Areas in Southeast Asia - An Information Kit (IIRR, 1995, 207 p.)
close this folder4. Diagnostic methods and tools
View the documentParticipatory appraisal methods
View the documentIntegrated land-use planning in upland areas
View the documentFarm househoId profile
View the documentGender analysis
View the documentCollecting information on crops
View the documentBuilding on indigenous knowledge

Gender analysis

Gender roles

Most upland development programs have presumed that there is a clear division in the labor of women and men. Women were thought to be primarily responsible for the care and maintenance of the household and its members, including bearing and caring of children, preparing food and collecting water and fuel. Men were thought to be primarily involved in agricultural and livestock production activities.

Research has shown that, while gender roles clearly differ in most societies, women are often involved in making key decisions related to agricultural and livestock production. In addition, women's roles are changing. Upland development efforts, therefore, must also change.

Gender analysis and upland resource management

The disappearance of much of the forest and increased cultivation of fragile upland areas have transformed gender roles, increased the hours women work to fetch water and fuel, increased the number of female-headed households and forced women and men to explore new ways to earn a living.

Gender analysis reveals how gender differences define women's and men's rights, responsibilities and opportunities in resource management.

Types of labor

Different types of labor are divided into productive, reproductive and community work. Analyzing what men and women do, their interactions and the possible effects of development projects can help in the design of such projects.

Productive work

The production of goods and services, such as farming or wage labor

Reproductive work

The care and maintenance of the household and its members, including childbearing, cooking and cleaning.

Community work

The collective organization of social events, such as church, school and cultural events.

What is gender?

Gender is the social differences between men and women. These differences are learned, vary from place to place, and may change over time. Gender is a socioeconomic variable used to analyze roles, responsibilities, constraints, opportunities and needs of men and women.

Sex is the physical or biological difference between men and women.

Why gender analysis?

Gender analysis helps decision-makers to:

· Design programs which recognize the different roles, interests and needs of women and men.
· Enhance women's productive role, without adding to their work burden.
· Create projects which promote the partnership of women and men in determining their future.

Gender and age division of labor

An analysis of tasks, functions, roles, responsibilities and activities of men, women, boys, girls and the elderly reveals what society deems culturally appropriate. While women continue to be primarily responsible for the wellbeing of their families, more and more are engaging in income-generating activities.


1 Prepare a chart with six columns showing boys, men, elderly men, girls, women and elderly women. (See table.)

2 Ask respondents (both men and women) to name activities and identify whether these are tasks dictated by gender and age.

3 Discuss the implications of such a division. Is it fair? Is it just? Should something be done about this?

Gender and age division of labor

Some examples



Elderly men



Elderly women

Productive work

pasture livestock

cultivate fields

feed livestock

weed fields

tend garden

tend garden


weed fields

weed pasture livestock


food processing

Reproductive work

collect firewood

maintain house

care for children

cook food take care of younger siblings

care for children and elderly

care for children

fetch water

maintain house

clean house

cook food

wash clothes

clean house

wash clothes

buy house hold needs

Community work

organize youth activities

lead village council

sit on village council

beautify village during festivals

attend to church activities

attend to church activities

repair roads

work in community health activities

Gender-based labor calendar

A gender-based labor calendar shows the female/male, adult/ child responsibilites for productive, reproductive and community work.

The calendar can generate information on the types of labor men, women and children do and can show opportunities for intervention and extension.


1 Identify males and females of various ages who are interested in participating. Explain the purpose and process of the exercise.

2 On a big sheet of paper, draw a matrix with 12 columns (1 for each month) and as many rows as you need. (See table.)

3 Ask participants to list the major types of activities under "production,,' "reproduction" and "community work.', Write each activity on the left side of the rows.

4 Ask participants to show on the calendar (using chalk or markers) when certain activities occur.

5 Request participants to define the intensity of the activity. Use continuous lines for continuous activities and broken lines for sporadic activities.

6 Match all activities with who specifically within the household is responsible for each task. Possible categories are male/ female, child/ adult/elder and hired labor.

7 Discuss with them their reactions to the results on the chart. Explore ways where adjustments might be needed.

Gender-based labor calendar (Example adapted from the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women)

Access, responsibility and control

It is important to know who has access to, responsibility for and control over existing resources. While women are heavily involved in (and are responsible for) production activities, they often do not control the use of the benefits of production.

Access, responsibility and control matrix

A matrix can show which household members have the primary responsibility for, access to and control over which key resources It can show both gender and generational role differences.


The opportunity of a person to make use of resources.


The burden of ensuring that the task(s) is completed.


The authority to determine the use of the resource and impose this decision on others.


1 Identify interested and knowledgeable local women and men who can participate in the activity.

2 Explain the purpose of the exercise and the meanings of access, responsibility and control.

3 Draw a matrix with 3 columns, one each for access, responsibility and control. (See table.)

4 Ask the respondents to define what key resources and activities are important to include. Write each of these to the led) side of each row in the matrix

5 Ask respondents to indicate who has responsibility for, access to and control over the item in each row. Put their responses in the correct cell in the matrix. You can use drawings or cut out shapes from paper for men and women. Or use sticks for men, stones for women. Use different sizes of sticks and stones to show children, adults and elderly people.


The matrix can lead to an understanding and discussion of the range of roles different household members play. It demonstrates the differences between responsibility, access and control and stimulates a discussion of the reasons for these differences.

Responsibility, access and control matrix (Example adapted from the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women)