I helped plan this - a side event at this week's U.N. General Assembly.
Women and Agriculture: A Conversation on Improving Food Security
Women make up the majority of the agricultural workforce in many developing countries. They’re involved in every aspect of agricultural production, from planting seeds to weeding fields to harvesting crops. Yet women farmers are 30 percent less productive than male farmers, for one reason: they have access to fewer resources. They certainly work as hard and they, like farmers everywhere, are at the mercy of nature. But these women have less fertilizer, fewer tools, poorer quality seeds, less access to training and the ownership of land.
As a result, they grow fewer crops, which means less food is available at markets, more people go hungry, farmers earn less money, and we’re back in to that vicious cycle. The production gap between men and women farmers disappears when that resource gap is closed. If all farmers, men and women, had access to the same resources, we could increase agricultural output by 20 to 30 percent. That would feed an additional 150 million people every year.
And the incomes of women farmers would increase, which means more financial security for their families and more money circulating in local economies, which in turn will help other businesses grow. Furthermore, because women tend to devote more of their money to the health, education, and nutrition of their children, a rise in their incomes pays off over generations.