Gender Equity

Women farmers are gatekeepers to food security, particularly in rural societies. Our capacity development places emphasis on empowering the rural poor with a specific focus on women to ensure that their voices are heard worldwide.


The Challenge

In many parts of the world, rural women account for nearly half of the agricultural workforce and they commonly face discrimination at both societal levels and within their own households, which has profound effects on their Right to Food and food security.

Women farmers play a fundamental role in ensuring food security, particularly in rural societies but lack of training, impaired access to resources, and exclusion from decision-making power often result in yields up to 30% lower than those of male farmers.

Although women are responsible for about half of the world’s food production, female nutrition indicators, across all age groups, are worse than those of their male counterparts. 

As a consequence, women farmers adjust to reduced food purchasing power by shifting to cheaper, less diverse diets.

Due to the nature of their role in farming, women farmers are often more exposed to the health hazards of harmful agricultural inputs than men.

The global food-insecure population reached 828 million in 2021. Rural women smallholder farmers are amongst the worst affected by hunger and are far from realising their Human Right to Food.

Most women farmers are smallholders who cultivate traditional food crops for subsistence and sale, whereas men are more likely to own medium to large commercial farms and are better able to capitalise on the expansion of agricultural tradable goods.

According to the World Bank, if women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20–30 percent, raising total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5–4 percent, and in turn, reducing the number of hungry people in the world by 12–17 percent. Women spend a much larger part of their household income - proportionately than men - on buying additional food for the family.

The FAO estimates that women make up 43% of the agricultural workforce globally. This number goes up to over 60% in low-income countries.

The gender gap in food insecurity continued to rise in 2021. 31.9% of women in the world were moderately or severely food insecure, compared to 27.6% of men.

Organic agriculture can support by:

  • Ensuring that women, who have in most cultures a central role in caring for the diet of the household, can have access to healthier, diversified and nutritious food.
  • Providing sustainable agricultural practices that avoid the use of chemical inputs, such as pesticides, which negatively impact women farmers’ health.
  • Promoting knowledge-intensive practices, through technical information and training, which empowers women to act autonomously and independently.

Women Farmers – Gatekeepers to Food & Nutrition Security!

Read more

Interview with Mariama Sonko: Raising the Voice of Women Farmers in West Africa!

Read more