Closing the gender gap for development
• How much do women contribute to agriculture and rural economies?
• Why do female farming households produce less than men?
• What is the gender gap in agriculture – including land, livestock, education, financial services, extension, technology and rural employment?
• How much does it cost society in lost agricultural output and food security?
• Do agro-processing and contract farming offer opportunities for women?
• Can agricultural policies and programmes close the gender gap?
The State of Food and Agriculture 2010–11 makes the “business case” for addressing gender issues in agriculture and rural employment. The agriculture sector is underperforming in many developing countries, in part because women do not have equal access to the resources and opportunities they need to be more productive.
The gender gap imposes real costs on society in terms of lost agricultural output, food security and economic growth. Promoting gender equality is not only good for women; it is also good for agricultural development.
Women make essential contributions to the rural economy of all developing country regions as farmers, labourers and entrepreneurs.
Their roles are diverse and changing rapidly, so generalizations should be made carefully. Yet one fact is strikingly consistent across countries and contexts: women have less access than men to agricultural assets, inputs and services and to rural employment opportunities.
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