Gender in Value Chains

Agri-ProFocus Learning Network

1. Principles

1.1 Why? The arguments

It is known that women's work often takes place in least valued parts of a value chain e.g. as home-based workers or informal workers more generally. Women tend to be underpaid and their (informal) jobs are less secure. In agricultural settings women are often not visible while they do a large part of the farm-activities. Moreover, it is well- documented that women-owned rural businesses tend to face many more constraints and receive far fewer services and support than those owned by men.


In this paragraph we will present arguments for gender sensitive value chain development categorized as follows:

  1. Business argument
  2. Social justice argument
  3. Poverty alleviation and food security argument


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1.2 A gender lens; underlying concepts

In order to analyze gender in value chains we have to collect information at three different levels: on activities and power within a value chain, on activities and power within a household and within society as a whole.


These respective levels have been thoroughly discussed in different bodies of literature: the value chain development approach and the gender right-based approach. The question is how can we bring these different approaches together?


In this paragraph we will present:

  1. the chain empowerment matrix through a gender lens
  2. a gender analytical framework, using the concepts ‘agency’ and ‘structure’.
  3. a matrix (combining the above two levels) in which the four dimensions of gender empowerment in value chains are presented.


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