Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

5.6.6. Analytical Tools for Working with Women

There are several analytical tools for working with women using a value chain approach, including:   

  1. Integrating Gender Issues into Agricultural Value Chains (INGIA-VC)
  2. Gender Equitable Value Chain Action Learning Approach
  3. Manual for Gender Mainstreaming
  4. Behavior Change Perspectives on Gender and Value Chain Development  

The Integrating Gender Issues into Agricultural Value Chains (INGIA-VC) Process

The Integrating Gender Issues into Agricultural Value Chains (INGIA-VC) process[1] is a step-by-step process for embedding gender analysis into value chain analysis. The five steps in the process include:

  1. Mapping gender roles and relations along the value chain. Women's and men's participation within the value chain is assessed and mapped, as are the comparative benefits that they derive from that participation. This should include sex segmentation by task and an examination of women's delivery of important support services (e.g., agricultural extension). Qualitative research into gender roles and responsibilities should also be completed in this first stage.
  2. Moving from gender inequalities to gender-based constraints (GBCs). Gender-based constraints are defined as restrictions on men’s or women’s access to resources or opportunities that are based on their gender roles or responsibilities. In this stage, practitioners identify the key points of disparity between the genders and their causes.
  3. Assessing the consequences of gender-based constraints. The third stage is to determine what the impacts are of the identified gender-based constraints on the competitiveness of the value chain, the project's capacity to reach its objectives, and on women's ability for economic empowerment. In this stage, GBCs should be ranked based on the size of negative consequences that they have across the three areas. Based on the outcome of the ranking exercise, project staff should select those GBCs with the largest overall impact. This ensures that the project's gender activities clearly integrate with and support its overall objectives, rather than being seen as a side activity.
  4. Taking actions to remove gender-based constraints. As with any other constraint identified by the project, the INGIA-VC process encourages practitioners to design sustainable solutions to address the prioritized GBCs. Important in developing an effective response is addressing the underlying causes of the GBCs, rather than their symptoms. For instance, unequal inheritance laws or community land tenure systems may be a critical underlying causes of low agricultural productivity among women by reducing the incentives for longer-term investment; improving access to information or inputs may have little impact if these underlying issues are not addressed.
  5. Measuring the success of actions. Incorporating gender-focused indicators and setting gender targets are two methods to effectively measuring project effectiveness.

It is important to note that the INGIA-VC process is intended to be applied after value chain selection has already been completed. Practitioners needing to select the value chain(s) that they will target will need to use another tool for this task. Moreover, the focus of the INGIA-VC process on agricultural value chains is a function of its having been developed with projects having this focus. Nevertheless, there is little that would limit the applicability of the process to projects targeting non-agricultural value chains.

The five-step INGIA-VC process is illustrated below.

Five-step INGIA-VC process chart

Gender Equitable Value Chain Action Learning Approach

The ILO’s Gender Equitable Value Chain Action Learning (GEVCAL) approach[2] is a methodology for mainstreaming gender considerations when conducting a value chain analysis and developing an implementation strategy. As with the INGIA-VC handbook, the GEVCAL approach assumes that value chain selection has already been completed. The GEVCAL process is different than other value chain analysis guides in that it strives to mainstream gender throughout the analysis, through:

  • Including women throughout the process.
  • Disaggregating all data by gender.
  • Designing programming so that women have equal opportunities as men
  • Involving women in shpaing implementation and learning from monitoring and evaluation

The guide emphasizes the use of participatory learning systems and diagramming tools throughout all stages of value chain analysis, design and implementation. This approach is advocated to both elicit information that would be missed using an expert-driven process and also to create local skills in value chain analysis. The most relevant tools include:

  • Gendered value chain mapping. During value chain analysis, a gendered mapping of the value visually depicts where women are actively engaged, where they may be hidden participants, what functions they are engaged in, their power relative to other value chain actors, what constraints they face, and what benefits they derive. An example of such a gendered value chain map is depicted below:

An example of a gendered value chain map

  • Division of labor mapping. Maps that disaggregate the gender division of labor allow an understanding of what women are doing, where and with what benefits.[3] Such maps can effectively illustrate how gender is correlated with power within the value chain.
  • Constraint solution tree. Another tool that the GEVCAL Process recommends is a constraint solution tree. This tool can be used in a participatory workshop to quickly gather information from a range of stakeholders about the critical value chain constraints and the solutions that are best able to address them. Importantly, the tree is designed to clearly show how household-level gender inequalities create value chain constraints. The diagram below illustrates the application of this tool to the Ethiopian traditional weaving sector.

Illustration of constraint solution tree applied to the Ethiopian traditional weaving sector

  • Win-win strategy tree. The win-win strategy tree facilitates the development of interventions that accomplish both a project's value chain objectives (e.g. increased incomes, competitiveness) and improve gender equality. Interventions are mapped out using a tree that facilitate the consideration of how each intervention will impact both aspects. In one case from Ethiopia, the tool was used to consider the introduction of improved beehive technologies. The tree helps clarify that the hives not only improve product quality, leading to higher sales, but also do not need to be placed on trees, which helps avoid land ownership and tree climbing issues that had traditionally limited female involvement.[4]

Manual for Gender Mainstreaming

The Manual for Gender Mainstreaming,[5] produced by CEPAC and CORDAID, presents methods for mainstreaming gender into five different stages of value chain programming: diagnosis, proposal writing, implementation, follow-up, and monitoring. Designed as a practical guide for implementers, the manual provides a number of very specific tools for incorporating gender analysis into the value chain analysis process. For instance, the manual provides the template for an agricultural calendar that distinguishes the seasonality of tasks done by women, men and children. The following is an example from the coffee subsector, where 'W' stands for women, 'M' for men, and 'CH' for children:

Manual for Gender Mainstreaming

Behavior Change Perspectives on Gender and Value Chain Development

The Behavior Change Perspectives on Gender and Value Chain Development framework and accompanying toolkit help practitioners analyze how gender influences behaviors related to upgrading in a value chain. This information can be used to design interventions that more effectively address constraints to upgrading. The three categories of behaviors in the framework are as follows:

  • Money management: Behaviors that allow for the accumulation of lump sums and the control of money. These behaviors facilitate or impede the ability of farmers to pay for upgrading and benefit from the returns.
  • Business practices: Practices related to the adoption of new business/agricultural practices and participation in new business models that facilitate access to inputs, services, and information necessary for upgrading.
  • Value chain relationships: Relationships that support the development of effective commercial networks, entry into new marketing channels, and improved information flow and trust. The quality of relationships between actors in the value chain influences whether individuals or groups trust each other, cooperate, and share information.

While there are no universal gendered “behaviors,” the framework emphasizes that gender drives behaviors, norms of behavior, and norms of economic participation. It shapes how individuals use and invest their income, conduct business, and maintain and develop relationships with other economic actors.[6]

The toolkit presents a set of tools that are designed to study how gender affects the three categories of behavior related to upgrading. They include focus group discussion guides, individual interview guides, a research plan outline and example, and a facilitation guide for consultative workshop with field partners. These tools can be drawn upon to design future research on gendered behaviors in value chains.[7]


  1. D. Rubin et al, Promoting Gender Equitable Opportunities in Agricultural Value Chains: A Handbook, (2009).
  2. L. Mayoux and G. Mackie, Making the Strongest Links: A Guide to Mainstreaming Gender in Value Chain Analysis, (Addis Ababa: International Labour Organization, (2008).
  3. L. Mayoux and G. Mackie, Making the Strongest Links: A Guide to Mainstreaming Gender in Value Chain Analysis, (Addis Ababa: International Labour Organization, (2008) 53.
  4. L. Mayoux and G. Mackie, Making the Strongest Links: A Guide to Mainstreaming Gender in Value Chain Analysis, (Addis Ababa: International Labour Organization, (2008) 64.
  5. R. Dulón G., Gender and Value Chains: Manual for Gender Mainstreaming, (CEPAC and CORDAID, 2009).
  6. J. Sebstad and C. Manfre, Behavior Change Perspectives on Gender and Value Chains: A Framework for Analysis and Implementation. USAID (2011). 
  7. J. Sebstad and C. Manfre, Behavior Change Perspectives on Gender and Value Chains: Tools for Research and Assessment. USAID (2011).