Gender relations can play an important role in the outcome of development interventions, and therefore gender-sensitivity is vital to successful research. This Brief summarises findings from a study into gender-sensitivity in natural resources management (NRM) research. A key finding is that gender relations are often neglected, not merely because researchers do not give them high enough priority, but because time and effort are required to elucidate the complex ways in which gender, NRM and poverty intersect. When that time and effort are not available, researchers fall back on generalised stereotypes, which employ incorrect assumptions about gender roles and responsibilities in NRM. These stereotypes mask the role of women in NRM, and can hide the ways in which NRM varies over time and space. Another finding is that working separately with single-sex men's and women's groups can be productive. It is important, however, that detailed research is carried out into understanding the position of individual men and women involved. Generalisations such as 'all women are poor' are not necessarily correct, and can hide the exclusion of vulnerable individuals. The study also points to ways in which participatory rural appraisal (PRA) methods and community workers could be used more effectively to achieve more gender-sensitive research.
Watson, E. Gender and natural resources management: improving research practice. (2006) 8 pp.