Women’s Empowerment at the Frontline of Adaptation

of implementation of community forestry, reached an average of 25% of membership (see Table 3).

Table 3: Statues of women in community forest user groups (CFUGs)

Number of Districts

Numbers of CFUGs

Number of Committee Members

Number of Women

Number of Men


14,227 159,876

40,227 (25%)


Women: The Driving Force in Agriculture

Number of Women only CFUGs

66 778 (5.5%) Source: CFUG database report, Department of Forest, Government of Nepal 2012a

As per NLSS 2010/2011, agriculture is the main source of livelihood for

women in Nepal. About 70.5% of women are employed in agriculture compared to only 56.3% of men. Women’s contribution to the agriculture economy is 60.5%, compared to men’s of 39.5% (see Figure 4). In areas where most of the economically active men in Nepal migrate in search of employment opportunities, women have become the backbone of rural development providing most of the labour inputs. Though more women earn their wages through agriculture, the median daily wage for women is only NRs 100, when compared to NRs. 150 for men. Women have tremendous knowledge and skills regarding farming systems, natural resource management, and biodiversity management in different agro-ecosystems (WEDO 2014). Activities such as crop farming, kitchen gardening, livestock rearing, and forest resource management are primarily done by women, although large

differences exist in gender roles between caste/ethnic groups, economic classes, and development regions in Nepal. There is a complex relationship between gender, social equity, and agriculture in Nepal. Despite the crucial role they have in agriculture, women often lack full rights over the use of, or decisions regarding, the sale or management of productive assets such as property and livestock. As land is the main source of economic

Box 2: An agricultural life

Agriculture dominates Nepal’s economy and is the main livelihood strategy for many subsistence farmers. Over 65% of Nepal’s total population is engaged in agriculture. In 2009, the agricultural sector contributed 32.3% to the total national GDP (Paudyal and Khatri 2011). About 40% of the 4.17 million households in Nepal are classified as marginal farmers (owning less than 0.5 hectares), 47% of households are small- scale farmers (owning 0.5 to 2 hectares), and 13% of households have more than 2 hectares. A little more than 20% of the total cropland in Nepal is under irrigation, most of which is in the Terai. Even in high-mountain, semi-arid areas of Nepal, livestock rearing largely depends on agricultural production to produce feed for livestock as well as cereals and cash crops for human consumption (ICIMOD and Asian Development Bank 2010).

Figure 4: Women and men involved in agriculture by caste/ethnicity/regional identity

100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

61.5 65.2









Men Women






Hill Dalit


Hill Janjati

Hill Chettri

Terai Janjati

Hill Brahman

Madeshi Dalit

Madheshi Other

Madheshi Brahman

Source: Nepal Demographic Health Survey 2006, ADB, DFID and World Bank 2011


Made with FlippingBook Learn more on our blog