March is National Women’s History month. This blog is in celebration of women farmers. We’ve been growing food and farming the land for centuries in America and around the world. But even today, it’s still hard to know the number of women farmers worldwide. One source explained that most small-scale farmers are women in developing countries. In the agricultural sector, women are 60% to 80% of the farmers in non-industrialized countries. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) estimates that women make up 43% to 70% of the agricultural labor in developing countries. What’s the real story about women farmers today? Are the numbers dynamic or static? What does the future of women in farming look like?
The face of rural farming is changing. Women farmers in developing nations are critical to life and survival in rural communities. But the gender gap continues to fuel hunger:
- Laws and traditions prevent women from owning and inheriting land.
- Women own smaller, poor quality land, resulting in less productive crops.
- Women have limited access to quality seeds, fertilizers and equipment.
If given similar resources as men, women could reduce hunger by 150 million people.