Women make up at least 43 percent of the agricultural workforce in developing countries, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Yet, women in rural and agricultural livelihoods consistently have less access than men to resources and opportunities.
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread, the virus disproportionately impacted women, whose care responsibilities increased as access to local markets decreased. Despite this, they’ve been ignored in nearly half of the COVID-19 relief plans analyzed in a recent report by CARE.
It’s clear that we ignore women in the food system at our own peril. The FAO reports that if women farmers had the same access to resources as male farmers, they could bring 100-150 million people out of hunger. Research from the FAO also shows time and time again that gender equality opens doors for entire communities to improve nutrition security as well as social and economic well-being.
In a recent Food Talk Live interview, Dr. Maureen Miruka, Director for Gender, Youth & Livelihoods for CARE USA, tells Food Tank that women are farmers, innovators, and decision makers. But, “they still face social norms and barriers that prohibit them from fully expressing their leadership. So, we are here to say we should create the opportunities for women to play a role in [addressing] the COVID-19 crisis.”
This year, in honor of International Women’s Day, Food Tank is celebrating 25 women who are working to close the…