Thematic Areas

Women's Access to Markets

WAtM 1 - Identification of local production potential

WAtM 1 - Identification of local production potential

This stage involves:

1. Analysis of what is (or could be) produced in the area

It's important to have a solid understanding of the kinds of production that are best suited to the environment, resources and culture of the area. It is also important to know how the production might affect issues like sustainability, food security, women’s unpaid care work and women’s workload.

This component begins with an analysis of what is being produced or has been produced in an area, and by whom (men or women). This understanding helps frame the possibilities that can be shaped to respond to market demand, perhaps by producing more of the same or a variation of something that is familiar, or perhaps by recombining skills and resources to produce something entirely new (for example, by introducing gravity-fed irrigation). It can also help identify underused resources in the community or region.

Participatory Tools:

2. Income and expenditure analysis

Often, if a producer is able to sell a product at what seems like a reasonable price, they consider themselves to be successful. However, they're only better off if the price they are paid for the product is enough to cover all the costs they incurred in producing the product, including a fair return on their own labour. For example, a group of producers grows two crops for sale: tomatoes and cassava. Although they receive the highest price per unit for tomatoes, the input and labour required to grow tomatoes makes the cost of production so high that even this price may not actually cover their costs. Cassava is not a high value crop, but it is relatively easy to grow and the yields are typically pretty good. Cassava growers produce their own seed and use natural fertilisers so the cost of inputs is low. Even though the per unit price for cassava is lower than for tomatoes, cassava could be a more profitable crop to grow. Understanding the true production costs for a variety of products in relation to the price provides a basis for:

  • Determining which products are truly profitable and which are not
  • Identifying how resources could be used more effectively in production and how to reduce costs
  • Negotiating a fair price that is truly profitable for the producers
  • Ensuring that the price take into account women's input and that the profit reaches them.

The issue of fair return for producers’ own labour must be dealt with sensitively. Usually, family farms do not include their own labour in the calculation of production costs. Its inclusion can make production prohibitive and needs to be contextualised, taking into account the opportunity cost. For example, are they missing out on regular wage labour because of this activity?

Participatory Tools:

3. Gender and power analysis of the production process

It is important to understand who or what (in the case of policy) owns and/or controls the resources required for the production and marketing of products and services, including the relative power of men and women. There are many activities involved in production and marketing of any product. For agricultural products, for example, these might include purchasing inputs, field preparation, planting, irrigating, weeding, pest management, crop harvesting, seed harvesting, cleaning, processing, packing, maintaining inventory, transporting, quality control, selling, record-keeping, and more. These are generally seen as men’s domain and the contributions of women are seldom counted, either directly or indirectly.  

A power analysis asks the question, “Who owns or controls the resources required for each production and marketing activity?” A power analysis begins by identifying the key resources that must be used to produce products and services for markets. These could include land, water, manure, compost, fertiliser, firewood, transportation, education, skilled and unskilled labour, communications technology, machinery, storage facilities, and more. A power analysis also identifies the key policies of the government or the private or nongovernmental sectors that impact the availability of resources. A power analysis helps identify the players that either need to be included in the value chain in order for it to succeed or can prevent it from succeeding.

A gender analysis asks two questions, “What power do men and women have with respect to the resources required for production and marketing?” and “What is the role of women and men in each activity of the value chain?” By analysing patterns of power and contribution by gender, it is often possible to identify areas where changes in responsibility by gender could improve the quantity, quality, or efficiency of the activity. 

Participatory Tools:


Here you can download some useful resources.

Tools in this toolbox

Access and control matrix

To analyse who has the power to access and control different resources and who is denied this.The Access and Control Matrix encou…

Focus group discussion

To bring together a group of individuals with similar interests or experiences to explore a particular issue in a structured way.…

Leaky pot

To explore how governments lose revenue through tax avoidance and corruption. This image of a leaking pot is used to support part…

Seasonal calendar

To help participants to analyse the distribution of agricultural work / crops / illnesses / etc. over the year.Cross referencing …


To track changes or document the history of a community or organisation.By capturing the chronology of events as perceived and …