Gender inequality in farming: women’s empowerment.

Written by Julieta F.

The biggest economic growth has been achieved in those countries where the productivity in agriculture has increased the most. History has demonstrated that general economic growth in a country is depending on preceding growth and increased productivity in agriculture – with very few exceptions.

Farmer and farmers’ organizations have been – and still are in many industrialized countries – a strong, political power, influencing national policies far beyond agriculture.

About 80 percent of the world’s food is produced by small-scale farming. Women make up on average 43 percent of this agricultural labor in developing countries, meaning that they are the majority in some countries.

However, women do not receive the same support as men farmers do. They have less access to land, loans, and machinery. The main reason is that women are heavily involved in domestic activities including caring, cooking, and cleaning, which remain hidden economically.

They are disproportionately affected by climate change and face greater exposure to climate risks due to the same barriers that reduce their productivity.

Women also face disadvantages, such as a higher workload and a widening gender gap due to uneven distribution of knowledge. Exclusion from participation and lack of empowerment of women on the community level leads to widening of gender gaps.

Agriculture is more likely than other areas to provide diverse opportunities for empowering women. However, women farmers are held back by barriers that prevent them from feeding their families and reinvesting in their livelihoods.

They face restrictions related to their gender while also experiencing the financial struggles shared by all small-scale farmers.

Organic farming by itself, although it offers great opportunities for women, does not automatically lead to more equality or empowerment. We need to give specific focus on gender issues and dedicated efforts to tap the full potential in terms of creating equality.

There are improvements in health, food security, and economic improvements for women through organic farming. Yet, little action has been taken to ensure that they have the resources they need to improve their livelihoods, tackle food insecurity and build their communities’ resilience to climate change.

To achieve women’s empowerment in agriculture is necessary to stimulate decision-making power in agricultural processes, establish control over productive resources and over the use of income, get social capital, leadership in the community, and human capital and have access to and use of technologies.

Rural poverty must be eradicated thank to the developing of markets oriented to agriculture, increasing production and flow of funds and demand for services in rural areas to kick-start the economic development process, developing an enabling environment for the agricultural sector through a process of dialogues between government and the farmer community as equal partners.

In agriculture and food systems around the world, persistent and systematic inequalities in resources, power, and roles disproportionately affect women and girls, limiting their opportunities and development, and contributes to global hunger and poverty.

Supporting women’s and girls’ ability to fulfill their potential and make strategic life choices within agriculture and food systems requires that we closely examine those systems, and identify where women and girls face key empowerment gaps.

Governments must break down the barriers that are holding women farmers and preventing them from accessing critical farming inputs.

They must ensure women have secure land rights, and provide women with vital funding and support for farming and adapting to climate change. Such support would protect their rights and boost their productivity.

It would unleash the potential of hundreds of millions of women farmers to effectively reduce poverty and hunger.

In Green Pedal we believe that there is hope and focus on the potential of family farming to secure local food systems, caring for land, seeds, and water. We respect local cultures, knowledge, and traditions while we stay in harmony with nature.

We place family farms at the center of our actions empowering them to foster food security, improve their farming skills and keep their children in school.

This is our firm commitment to sustainable development and the end of hunger and poverty.