Gender Equality in Agrifood systems could boost the world economy by $1 trillion and end poverty.

Empowering women and achieving gender equality in agrifood systems could boost the global economy by $1 trillion, reduce food insecurity by 45 million, build resilience for 235 million people and lead to better agricultural production, diets and nutrition, a latest report by the Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of United Nations has revealed.

The Status of Women in Agrifood Systems Report provides a comprehensive overview of the status of women in agrifood systems. It analyses multiple sources of inequality that constrain women’s participation, well-being and empowerment; and details how women ‘s equal participation in agrifood systems can enhance their well-being and provide opportunities for economic growth, incomes, productivity and resilience at an individual and global level.

The report highlights that while women play a vital role in agrifood systems they are held back by inequality, discrimination, marginalization, denied urgency, poor working conditions, lower wages and a greater burden of unpaid work which makes it hard for them to realize their full potential.

“Globally, 36 per cent of working women are employed in agrifood systems, along with 38 per cent of working men. However, women’s roles tend to be marginalized and their working conditions are likely to be worse than men’s –irregular, informal, part-time, low-skilled, or labor-intensive.

“The gender gap in land productivity between female- and male managed farms of the same size is 24 percent. On average, women earn 18.4 percent less than men in wage employment in agriculture; this means that women receive 82 cents for every dollar earned by men,” FAO report.

The study also indicates that women continue to lag behind men in terms of access to assets and resources key to agrifood systems such as land inputs, services, finance and digital technology.  With weak legal protections for women’s land rights further constraining equal opportunities and rights to land ownership.

“The percentage of men who have ownership or secure tenure rights over agricultural land is twice that of women in more than 40 percent of the countries that have reported on women’s landownership (Sustainable Development Goal Indicator 5.a.1), and a larger percentage of men than women have such rights in 40 of 46 countries reporting.”

Agrifood systems are a vital source of livelihood for women than for men in many countries. With the report noting that in sub-Saharan Africa, 66 percent of women’s employment is in agrifood systems, compared with 60 percent of men’s employment.


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