Op­por­tun­it­ies for an equit­able ag­ri­cul­tural eco­nomy

In many partner countries, women make up more than half of the agricultural labour force. x Employment in agriculture is mainly informal, so women are particularly affected.

Informal employment relationships are not subject to state control or state regulations and usually provide no protection under labour or social laws. Women are most frequently represented in the informal economy as unpaid family members, contract homeworkers or domestic workers. x

Back­grounds and po­ten­tials:

In many places, laws and traditions persist that have a discriminatory impact on women and girls. Such laws and traditions include early marriage, land rights and discriminatory inheritance rulings.
Women are also often under-represented in rural organisations and less informed about their rights. This reduces their opportunities for participation and decision-making.

  • These all lead to restricting access to resources such as capital goods and advisory and financial services.
  • Improved direct access to financial services for women enables them to invest in productive resources such as agricultural equipment.
  • Women also generally invest in "human capital", including in the health, nutrition and education of their children. Equal access to financial services therefore has a positive long-term impact on overall economic developmentx

To gain op­por­tun­it­ies for formal em­ploy­ment, it is es­sen­tial for wo­men and girls to have bet­ter ac­cess to edu­ca­tion and train­ing.

Change agents

The different discriminatory challenges and dimensions against women in agriculture are partly interdependent and make self-determined development difficult. Promoting gender equality makes it possible to use women as change agents, also in overcoming the climate crisis.

As women are strongly represented among the agricultural workforce, they can also be drivers of change towards sustainable farming methods. Care must also be taken to ensure that workloads on women do not increase, so it is essential that men and boys also become change agents.


  1. Source: FAO 2011: THE STATE of Food and Agriculture 2010-2011. Women in Agriculture. Closing the gender gap for development
  2. Source: WIEGO (2019) Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A Statistical Brief 
  3. Source: FAO (2011) Rural Women’s Access to Financial Services