Summaries This article considers the absence of convincing analyses of gender roles in thinking about community?based natural resource management. It suggests that policies and approaches are inadequately gendered and particularly omit to recognise the relational nature of gender. Such approaches are further criticised for promoting women’s development to the neglect of men, for perpetuating normative generalisations about men and women and for an excessive focus on public manifestations of gendered participation and decision making. This results in policies which overlook the changing and negotiated nature of gender roles, the intersection of productive and reproductive concerns in gendered decisionmaking and the costs to women and men of inclusion in and exclusion from public life. This article draws on examples of gendered decision?making and negotiation over the management of land, livestock and water in Zimbabwe. It argues for a more sophisticated conceptualisation of the roles of men and women which takes account of their capacities as individual agents as well as the different structural constraints operating on them. The article suggests areas where further analysis is urgently required.