Women do more than half of the work in agriculture, but generally labor under poorer conditions than men. As a result, even if women work more than men, they often have poorer crops and earn less money on what they produce. When women are given the same access to resources as men, this has large effects on economic growth in developing countries.

The gender gap in agriculture is also a matter of rights. The unequal treatment of men and women is a result of a lack of recognition of women’s rights and social contributions, and has great consequences for the women of the world. Women are overrepresented among the world’s poor, and among the under- and malnourished, the illiterate, the landless, and in a series of other statistics. Research also shows that women are more vulnerable in crisis situations, such as flooding and extreme weather.

Women contribute to all work tasks in agriculture. They also bear the main responsibility for the home and childcare. Equal rights at home and in agriculture contribute to better health and future opportunities for the children. Mothers to a great extent use any surplus gained from agriculture and other income to improve conditions for their children and family: more and more nutritious food, health and schooling.

Without solutions that take gender roles and the situation of women in agriculture into account, we will have great difficulty combatting hunger and poverty. In the report “Women in Agriculture: Contributions to food security, health and economic development in developing countries” you can read more about this (in Norwegian).

How does the Development Fund work with women and equality?

Women are an important target group and gender equality an important goal for the Development Fund. Strengthening women’s economic, political and social position is an essential component of all of our activities in the countries where we work. We seek to reduce the large differences between women and men in “our” countries. Our goal is to increase the participation of women and get more women into leading positions.

We work with savings and loan groups and teach women how to establish small businesses. Through savings and loan groups they can raise small loans and start small businesses. The groups also give women a room of their own to discuss challenges and find common solutions. They are also given a common, stronger voice in local decision-making processes. We seek to heighten women’s consciousness of their own situation and to mobilize women to participate in the local community and in public debate.