Farming First has launched a provocative social media campaign, aimed at exposing the gender gap in agriculture. FAO data states that despite women comprising 43 per cent of the agricultural workforce, they produce on average 20-30% less crops than men per hectare. Yet according to the coalition, the reasons for this gap are widely misunderstood.
To encourage conversation around the topic, Farming First released an image on social media, asking its audience to fill the gap in the phrase: “Women in agriculture can’t …………………. as well as men.”
“The gender gap affecting female farmers, agripreneurs and agricultural researchers has nothing to do with their ability, but rather the opportunity they have to access critical tools and training,” commented Yvonne Harz-Pitre, Co-Chair of Farming First.
“Our campaign was designed to not only expose common misconceptions about where this gender gap exists and why, but also to surprise people when revealing the real reasons women are being held back in this sector.”
These reasons are multiple and diverse. According to a recent report from UN Women, only 13 per cent of agricultural landholders worldwide are women. Despite significant growth in recent years, only 30 per cent of agricultural scientists in Kenya and Nigeria are female, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute. FAO also reports that women receive only 10 per cent of the aid directed to agriculture, and only five per cent of agricultural extension services.
“We have a long way to go, not only to close the gender gap in agriculture, but to educate society on its root causes. Only when these are understood, can they be tackled,” said Robert Hunter, Co-Chair of Farming First.
Farming First’s campaign has extended the “fill the gap” concept to showcase stories of women who have successfully “filled” the gender gap in agriculture, by overcoming the challenges cited above. This has included the story of Chanda Devi, Chairperson of a co-operative in Bihar, India, that has worked with TechnoServe to train 260 women on lychee production. It also includes the story of Lubov Semenyuk, the female CEO of a food processing factory in the Ukraine who is working with Chemonics and USAID to open new markets for farmers growing traditional crops, particularly women farmers in remote areas.
“Given the right resources, women could lift another 150 million people out of hunger,” said Kati Partanen, who leads the Women’s Committee at the World Farmers’ Organization. “We simply cannot meet the Global Goal of ending hunger without their full and unbridled participation.”
“We hope this campaign will inspire renewed action on filling the agricultural gender gap.”
To access the Farming First gender gap campaign visit: www.farmingfirst.org/gender-gap
For more statistics on the agricultural gender gap, visit the “Female Face of Farming” produced by Farming First in partnership with FAO:
About Farming First
Farming First is a global advocacy coalition dedicated to the sustainable advancement of agriculture worldwide. It enjoys the support of 185+ organisations representing the world’s farmers, scientists, engineers and industry as well as relevant NGOs and agribusiness associations. With one shared voice, Farming First highlights the importance of improving farmers’ livelihoods and agriculture’s potential contribution to global issues such as food security, climate change, and biodiversity.