5.6.5. Gender Dimensions Framework

Whereas many gender frameworks are oriented specifically to understanding women's role as producers at the household level, the gender dimensions framework (GDF) is built to identify gender issues at all levels of the value chain. The GDF was adapted from another analytical tool, the Six Domains for Gender Analysis[1] that is used by USAID for its work in social sectors. The GDF looks at four key factors that shape gender within value chains:

  • Practices and participation. Gender shapes several aspects of behavior that affect participation in value chains, including time allocation, mobility, labor decisions, membership of associations and involvement in other collective activities.
  • Access to assets. Ownership, control and use of assets are influenced by gender relations. Important assets in an agricultural context include land, information and extension services, and education.
  • Beliefs and perceptions. Beliefs mediate the behavior of both genders in areas including appropriate economic activities, employment opportunities and legal rights. In cases where gender-neutral laws are in place, perceptions can influence how they are actually applied to each gender.
  • Laws, policies and institutions. Varying legal rights impact the capacity of each gender to access support services (e.g., finance) or to establish horizontal linkages and therefore to participate in value chain opportunities.

Importantly, the GDF examines gender-based power issues across each of the above four areas. While an understanding of value chain governance and power is an important component of the value chain approach, it is particularly relevant for gender programming. Importantly, the framework moves the examination of power beyond the firm and worker level to also consider power relations within households and in the policies and norms of the enabling environment. The distribution of power between spouses, for instance, impacts household decision-making processes and thus plays an important role in shaping incentives for participation in value chains.



  1. The Six Domains of Gender Analysis Analytical Tool.

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