Gender and inorganic nitrogen: what are the implications of moving towards a more balanced use of nitrogen fertilizer in the tropics?
This article (PDF) in the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability discusses the gender dimensions of moving towards a more balanced use of nitrogen fertilizer. For agriculture to play a role in climate change mitigation, strategies are necessary to reduce emissions from inorganic nitrogen fertilizer through more balanced and efficient use. Such strategies should align with the overarching principle of sustainable intensification and will need to consider the economic, environmental and social trade-offs of reduced fertilizer-related emissions. However, the gender equity dimensions of such strategies are rarely considered. The case studies cited in this paper, from India, Lake Victoria in East Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, show that the negative externalities of imbalanced inorganic nitrogen use in high- and low-use scenarios impact more strongly on women and children. Through a literature review, the relative wide spread cooperation in household bargaining processes in low nitrogen use scenarios are examined to assess the degree to which they impact upon nitrogen use. The authors suggest that gender-equitable strategies for achieving more balanced use of nitrogen will increase the likelihood of attaining macro-level reductions in greenhouse gas emissions provided that they secure equity in intra-household decision-making and address food security. Gender-equitable nitrogen use efficiency strategies will help to integrate and assure gender and social equity co-benefits at local scales. However, change will ultimately be reliant on significant shifts in locally specific deep structures informing gender and social norms.