The Future is Female: Women in Agriculture

Oct 18, 2021|1No Poverty

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As you might have read by now, The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Goal 1 focuses on ending poverty for all. 

One of the targets for this goal is to ensure that all men and women, particularly the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources and access to basic services, such as health, clean water, and education. It also looks into guaranteeing ownership and control over land and natural resources and access to appropriate technology and financial services, including microfinance. The aim is to reach this target by the year 2030. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has slowdown significantly the progress on poverty reduction since 2015, with the global rate of extreme poverty rising in 2020 for the first time in over 20 years. 

In a previous Goal 1 post, "Understanding Poverty & Social Enterprises", we talked about 'Social Enterprises' and how these can help boost economies by empowering the local communities. We encourage you to check it out - if you haven't done so already - to better understand the overall impact of Goal 1. However, on this occasion, we want to talk about empowering women to end poverty. 

For example, did you know that even today, women in half of the countries around the world are unable to have equal land and property rights? That means in many cases that if a male family member (father or husband) dies, the women might suddenly be left homeless or have no right to keep the land they live in. 

Let's explore further. 

 

Equal Rights to Ownership 

Securing land ownership is key to eradicating poverty, increasing agricultural investment and ensuring food security and is an essential element of climate action and climate resilience. Yet, women still face many barriers and have far weaker rights to land than men. Land serves as a foundation for security and shelter but also, in some cases, is central to income and women's livelihoods. Like for example, when land is used for farming. 

According to UNWomen.org, gender inequality is still a significant cause and effect of hunger and poverty. It is estimated that 60% of chronically hungry people are women and girls. Yet, studies suggest that women make up about 43% of the agricultural labor force in developing countries. Evidence indicates that if these women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20 to 30% raising total agricultural output in these countries and reducing the number of hungry people in the world by around 12 to 17%. 
 

"Without land to build or maintain a home, to farm or leverage for economic gain, to inherit from a relative, and to use as her own, women's security, prosperity and dignity remain compromised." - Stand For Her Land. 

Stronger land rights can empower women while increasing investments in land, spending on food and education, and improving child nutrition – lifting whole families and communities for an equal world. With this in mind, nonprofit-organizations such as Stand For Her Land are helping women close the gap between law and practice worldwide. In addition, knowledge sharing with the women involved allows us to understand the barriers that affect women's rights to land ownership, which is why organizations like Stand For Her Land are so significant. 

 

Main Barriers for Women 

  • Lack of access to credit to invest in farming, farming technology and better crop planning
  • Social norms about land; Land and land ownership are still considered a man's thing. 
  • Religion 
  • Law affecting marital property and inheritance

Do you know of any women-owned farms in your area? Or have you thought about becoming a farmer or agricultural engineer? Agriculture is an exciting global industry, constantly innovating and an essential contributor to the national economy.

Look out for any female lead farms and find out how you can get involved! Follow the conversation online, have a look at what the experts are saying #agriculturelife #sustainableagriculture 

 

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Thinking Cap On

Head over to National Geographic's article "Empowering Female Farmers." and look out for the term "Crop Gap". Then, discuss with your parents, teachers or peers the importance of "Crop Gap" and think of ways to help prevent it from happening. 

You too can act to support women small-scale farmers – to fight with them against hunger, malnutrition, and poverty.

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