Women Smallholders

Drawdown’s Women Smallholder solution proposes that empowering smallholder women farmers through improved credit access will allow them to implement nutrient management and drip irrigation, forms of sustainable agriculture that contribute to the drawdown of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Inherent in Drawdown’s model are optimistic assumptions about cultural and societal systems in which women smallholders exist. We identified these assumptions and examined their validity through a comprehensive literature review, in order to improve the accuracy of the Drawdown women smallholders model. Our research asked: 1) What are the barriers to women smallholders’ access to credit? 2) How do women tend to use loans, and to what extent do they have control over their loans? 3) What barriers prevent rural women from gaining land ownership rights, and to what extent does women’s land ownership also imply decision-making authority over the uses of their land? 4) What obstacles do smallholder women face in adopting nutrient management techniques? Our research led to the following key recommendations: Drawdown should give more weight to the persistence and pervasiveness of discriminatory gender norms in their existing models; Drawdown’s references and models should be centered on rural women as individuals, not the household; improved access to credit alone is insufficient to achieve the model’s predicted outcomes; and that Drawdown should be cautious not to instrumentalize women as a solution to climate change. These recommendations will facilitate Drawdown and decision makers’ generation of accurate models and sensitive policies related to women smallholders and reversing climate change.

Monday Poster Session
Nebraska Hernandez
Autumn Moore
Isabela Schultz
Kirsten Taylor
Related Conference Themes
Land Use
Women & Girls