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According to Investing in Women as Drivers of Agricultural Growth by Jacqueline Ashby, Maria Hartl, Yianna Lambrou, Gunnar Larson, Annina Lubbock, Eija Pehu, and Catherine Ragasa, please click here to access:

  • Women play a critical role in agricultural production in developing countries. Particularly in low income countries in which agriculture accounts for an average 32 percent of the growth in gross domestic product (GDP), and in which an average 70 percent of the countries' poor live and work in rural areas, women make up a substantial majority of the agricultural workforce and produce most of the food that is consumed locally.
  • The Gender in Agriculture Sourcebook suggest that gender issues are explicitly incorporated into less than 10 percent of official development assistance (ODA) that is directed toward agriculture.
  • Animal diseases cause the loss of about 30 percent of livestock production in developing countries, and women who lack access to credit or information are typically more exposed to risk than male livestock managers.
  • In Andhra Pradesh, India, the organization of over eight million women into self help groups around community procurement centers enabled dispersed commodities to be aggregated and sold, with a cumulative turnover in four years of over $120 million that created jobs for over 10,000 villagers in supply chain management. The income gain on some commodities exceeded 200 percent. Women became active mangers and traders in rural markets and hugely increased their economic and socio-political leverage in households and communities.
  • Gender policy that establishes and trains both women and men to work in teams as front-line staff supporting women producers has proven effective in India's ATMA program and Venezuela's CIARA Foundation.

According to Factsheet: Women Farmers and Food Security, produced by The Hunger Project,

  • The FAO estimates that women produce over 50 percent of all food grown worldwide.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, women grow 80-90 percent of the food.
  • African women work far longer hours than men. On average, their workdays may be 50 percent longer according to the World Bank.
  • Women carry out essential work such as hoeing, planting, weeding and harvesting with simple tools and little outside assistance.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, when women obtain the same farm inputs as average male farmers, they increase their yields for maize, beans and cowpeas by 22 percent.
  • Despite the critical role they play in food production and management of natural resources, they have ownership of only 1 percent of the land. Lack of access to and control over land has intensified women's difficulties, their access to credit, technical assistance and participation, all essential for development.
  • Agricultural extension strategies traditionally have focused on increasing production of cash crops by providing men with training, information, and access to inputs and services.
  • Women bear the primary responsibility for their families' health, education and nutrition.
  • The Convention on Biodiversity, an international treaty signed by 191 of the world's countries "recognizes the vital role that women play in the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and affirm[s] the need for the full participation of women at all levels of policy-making and implementation for biological diversity conservation".
  • Rural women, in their role of farmers, are key to maintaining biodiversity. They improve and adapt plant varieties, cultivate plants, and store and exchange seeds.
  • Women are suffering particularly because, in some African countries, women eat last as a cultural tradition, and when there is less food, women are the first to eat less.

According to Agriculture Sector in India, please click here to access: 

  • The mode of female participation in agricultural production varies with the landowning status of farm households. Their roles range from managers to landless labourers. In over all farm production, women's average contribution is estimated at 55% to 66% of the total labour with percentages, much higher in certain regions. In the Indian Himalayas a pair of bullocks works 1064 hours, a man 1212 hours and a woman 3485 hours in a year on a once hectare farm, a figure that illustrates women's significant contribution to agricultural production.
  • The Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement impacts women's knowledge of and control over seed. The Agreement on Agriculture impacts women's livelihood and income security, and also has secondary impacts in terms of increased violence against women. The sanitary and phyto sanitary agreement has a direct impact on women's expertise and economic role in agroprocessing.
  • According to 1991 census the male cultivators has increased in the country by 11.67 percent from 76.7 million in 1981 to 85.6 million in 1991. The female cultivators however have increased at much faster rate of 45.23 percent from 14.8 million in 1981 to 21.5 million in 1991.
  • 74 percent of the entire female working force is engaged in agriculture operations. About 60 percent of agricultural operations like sowing of seeds, transportation of sapling, winnowing, storage of grain etc are handled exclusively by women, while in other jobs they share the work with women. Apart from participation in actual cultivation, women participate in various forms of processing and marketing of agricultural produce.
  • Female agricultural labours do not enjoy any maternity leave and do not get proper rest after childbirth.
  • About 36.50 percent women work in rural India as cultivators and 43.4 percent as agricultural labours (Census-2001).
  • As men migrate in search of better-paid work, women in rural India are taking over agricultural work in the villages. They face meager wages, long hours, hazardous work and sexual harassment.

According to Characteristics of Sex-Ratio Imbalance in India, and Future Scenarios by Christophe Z Guilmoto (2007), UNFPA, please click here to access:


  • Rising sex ratios in India have been recorded since the early 1980s, and have since continued increasing with no sign, so far, of reversing course.
  • From the 1980s, sex-selective abortions became the primary method used to alter the sex composition of children.
  • There has been a gradual increase in the proportion of boys (per 100 girls) from 1981 to 2001, a rise that was significantly faster in urban areas.
  • Sex selection appears to have played a major role in causing the deterioration observed in child sex ratio. Excess female mortality among infants and children contributes only moderately to the deficit of girls.
  • The deterioration of child sex ratio has been observed in a limited number of states, particularly those in the West of the country, stretching from Punjab to Maharashtra.
  • Some religious groups, such as Sikhs or Jains, exhibit extreme sex-ratio values on the whole, while such figures tend to be normal or low among other groups, such as tribal communities.


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