International Day of Rural Women

October 15 is the UN International Day of Rural Women. This day, which was first established in 2008, recognizes “the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.”

Women farmers typically achieve yields 20-30% lower than men due to unequal access to productive resources and services, yet closing this gender gap could reduce the number of malnourished people by 12-17% (source: Farming First)

Gender inequity plays a special role within agriculture, as women are often pivotal to ensure household food security. Yet they are often not given access to resources or have little decision-making power.

Felix Clay/Duckrabbit

Improving equity therefore, means allowing the men and women affected by development to have a say in how resources are used. It also means helping decision makers to guarantee policies promote fair access to agriculture and natural resources. Gender, poverty, and institutions are therefore interlinked, and cannot be dealt with independently.

WLE’s gender research identifies where, when and how women can gain equitable access to water, land and other natural resources. WLE’s vision of sustainable agriculture rests on the premise that enhancing the decision-making power of women over natural resources can improve agriculture production, enable household food security and ensure long-term sustainability.

Equity and gender: balancing the scales of decision-making

CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). 2014. Equity and gender: balancing the scales of decision-making.Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Water Management Institute (IWMI). CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE).2p

More Information

  • Gender @AgEco: A collection of blog posts showcasing the discourse on gender and equity across WLE’s research activities.
  • Infographic: Gender and Agriculture: developed by WLE to show women’s contribution to agriculture and how their integration is key to addressing today’s development challenges.
  • CGIAR Celebrates International Rural Women’s Day: CGIAR is committed to promoting cross-cutting research to benefit rural women and integrating gender into research activities through its research programs.
  • Infographic: Africa’s Agricultural Potential: a new infographic from Farming First and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) focuses on the many ways in which Africa can address hunger and malnutrition while boosting livelihoods and promoting inclusive growth sustainably.