Agriculture / Capacity Strengthening / Women

Closing the gender gap for development

Village food seller in Nigeria

Village food seller in Nigeria (photo credit: ILRI/Mann).

From the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) comes this news.

‘Investing in closing the gender gap in agriculture could bring the number of undernourished people in the world down by 100-150 million people. This is one of the conclusions of the State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) 2010-2011, which has been published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today.

‘SOFA 2010-2011—with contributions from gender experts from several [centres of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research]—gathers empirical research about the state of women in agriculture today, and estimates the effects that ‘leveling the playing field’ would have on agricultural production worldwide. From the field to the policymaking table and within our agricultural research centers, removing the obstacles to women’s full and equal participation is documented as a powerful mechanism for more effective sustainable development.

‘SOFA 2010-11 evaluates a large body of country experience and evidence on policies and interventions that have proven successful in promoting gender equality and empowering women in agriculture and rural employment. While no blueprint exists, some basic principles are universal: governments, the international community and civil society should work together to eliminate discrimination under the law, to promote equal access to resources and opportunities, to ensure that agricultural policies and programs are gender-aware, and to make women’s voices heard as equal partners for sustainable development. Achieving gender equality and empowering women is not only the right thing to do – it is also crucial for agricultural development and food security.’

Read the whole report at FAO: SOFA 2010-11: Women in agriculture: closing the gender gap for development.

8 March 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. The United Nations theme for 2011 is ‘Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women.’

2 thoughts on “Closing the gender gap for development

  1. Gender equality is not just a lofty ideal, says this new FAO report. If women in rural areas of developing countries had the same access to land, technology, financial services, education and markets as men, agricultural production could be increased and the number of hungry people reduced by 100–150 million.This is a strong business case for gender equality in both research and development work.

  2. Women play the most important role in societal development hence their marginalization costs the developing countries economic turmoil and thus policies should be put in place that advocate gender equity and equality for better socio-economic development.

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