Women farmers are an important cornerstone of many economies worldwide. The agricultural sector relies on women farmers to produce, support, and uplift countless daily endeavors. According to the United Nations, almost half of the world’s agricultural labor force is comprised of rural women, but support for them falls far shorter than what they need, especially in developing countries.
Historically, women primarily worked in small-scale agriculture while men dominate industrial-scale farming. Women farmers generally work for their own household and handle domestic affairs. This is why they are a huge part of household food security, ensuring that there is food in the table for their children and the rest of their families.
Despite their importance, women farmers still face multiple challenges that hinder their development. One of these is the existing discrimination and gender inequalities that they face in their own societies. Women farmers are often seen as weaker and less capable. This is the reason why they are limited to working in a small-scale and have little to no chance of expanding their operations. Decision-making when it comes to important matters is often left to men, resulting in rural women being constrained and further limited.
Another challenge these women face is seen in land ownership. They are often given limited access to land and therefore cannot work large-scale or even incrementally expand their operations. Land tenure is often an issue for women farmers. This is why very little compensation or reward for the hard work they put in the land. Rural women and women farmers also often perform tasks and domestic work that are in many cases unpaid and unrecognized.
Financial and technical resources are also in shortage for women farmers. Because they are less prioritized, women are often left out when it comes to access to financial institutions and programs. This limits their chance for growth and development of their own farms and operations.
Thus, empowering women farmers and creating structural changes to social, political, and economic frameworks are becoming a must. More and more, the need to close gender gaps and eradicate inequalities is recognized by the international community and governments alike.
Empowering Women in Agriculture
Studies have time and time again showed that if rural women are empowered and given equal access to infrastructure, financial institutions, water and electricity, education, and the proper technology, then communities would be uplifted, businesses would flourish, and the overall health of locals will improve.
Women farmers empower their own communities and are highly capable as well as knowledgeable in caring for their own lands. If barriers are eradicated then food management, resource acquisition, and even the adoption of climate-resilient agricultural practices can be achieved.
Like what the United Nations is doing through UN Women, organizations all over the world are striving hard to bring not just rural women but all women, in general, to be on the forefront alongside men in fighting for sustainability and improved livelihood.
In post-harvest management, women farmers are empowered by being informed of new technologies and techniques that would be beneficial for them. One such practice is availing of packaging and storage that can protect the quality of their commodities, yielding higher prices in the market.
GrainPro does the same by empowering rural women and partnering with firms and organizations to educate women farmers about post-harvest technology. By doing so, women will have the chance to make better-informed choices about their agricultural practices, thus creating the transformational steps towards a better future.
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