Globally, 1 in 3 women work in agriculture.
Rural women play an outsized role in providing for their families, a role that often goes unrecognized. True gender equity has the potential to change that.
Though one in three women around the world work in agriculture, most lack the rights and access to resources that would significantly improve their lives and those of their families.
An FAO study shows that women are responsible for 85-90% of the work around food acquisition and preparation, in addition to the majority of household chores and childcare. Most of this work is unpaid. This burden of responsibility — without a share of the gains or an equal voice in decision-making — leaves women and young girls around the world marginalized.
The Feminization of Agriculture
Given their crucial role in the household, women are often left in charge of the family and land when their partners migrate in search of work. In countries across Latin America, families struggle to make ends meet by seeking economic opportunity where it can be found. Remittances, or money sent home from abroad, represent nearly 14% of GDP in Guatemala.
While this results in women having greater decision-making power in the household, it also leaves them at risk, unless other barriers are removed. Women need greater access to financial resources, land rights, and adequate payment.
This feminization of agriculture presents an opportunity to improve food security. When women have equal access to knowledge, resources and support, there is greater potential for reducing hunger and malnutrition, while increasing the inclusion of women in the formal economy.
“When women have access to the means of production of food, they have access to local markets and can move toward economic independence.”
~ Fatima Ismael, Director of SOPPEXCCA
Gender Equity vs. Gender Equality
There is often confusion between the ideas of equity and equality. We put the focus on equity. Gender equality is the goal; it is when all people, regardless of gender have equal rights and equal access to what they need to pursue their own interests and exercise their rights. Gender equity is on the path to gender equality. This means acknowledging the challenges women face and supporting them as they push for equality.
Gender Equity & Our Work
We believe rural women and girls represent vast reserves of untapped potential as community leaders and contributors to the family economy. As an organization co-founded and led by women, we are committed to cultivating female leaders at our partner organizations. Over our history, we’ve seen women develop the skills needed to lead and sustain climate-friendly food security programs for thousands of families.
To accomplish our ambitious vision of good food every day for coffee-farming families, we nurture female leaders – coffee farmers, family members, co-op staff, and students. This is why a major portion of our focus is on education and professional skill development for women.