Agriculture and food security

Women play a key role in agricultural production around the world, making up 43% of the agriculture labour force in developing countries overall, and over 50% of the workforce in many sub-Saharan African countries. They make major contributions to crop production and food processing, and their role is only expanding as men continue to migrate to urban centres in search of employment. Despite their critical and increasing role in food production, women have poor access to resources (land, credit, technology, information, training and education) for increasing their output, and little support to move from subsistence farming to higher value, market-oriented production. Studies show that if women had equal access to such resources, the overall agricultural output in developing countries could increase enough to reduce global hunger by 12–17%. Greater attention to gender issues in farming could do much to increase production and productivity, speed up the adoption of innovations, raise household incomes, and lead to significant improvements in child health, nutrition and educational levels.