Gender and participatory mapping: Local knowledge and empowerment in development research


Participatory mapping as a research technique is a means for women to express their spaces and resources. This poster explores mapping as both a process and product in field work with smallholder farmers in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. It draws on experiences including women and mapping gendered spaces. Examples include mapping Kitchenspace, mapping the “path of the peanut,” the “path of the pesticide,” and agricultural value chains. It considers the challenges and benefits of using participatory mapping, gendered and non-gendered findings, and the role of the mapping facilitator. The authors conclude that participatory mapping provides opportunities for semi-literate and illiterate women to contribute their knowledge and perspectives to development research projects as well as providing pedagogical opportunities for action research. Discussion with mapping participants and a gender analysis of the resulting maps can contribute to improved understanding of social, cultural, economic, and environmental issues.



Participatory processes, Gender, Empowerment, Local knowledge, Participatory mapping, Development research, Farm/Enterprise Scale


Poster presented at the Southeastern Division Association of American Geographers, Savanna, GA, 20-22 November 2011