On International Women’s Day we affirm our commitment to an equitable, diverse, and inclusive world where women are celebrated and valued. Collectively, we can all #BreakTheBias and forge women’s rights, together. Advancing gender equality is one of the greatest global challenges of the 21st century. According to the United Nations, 70 percent of the 1.3 billion people living in conditions of poverty are women. These figures will only get more severe as the impacts of climate change disproportionately effect women vs. men.
Women in Agriculture
Advancing gender equity is especially important in the field of agriculture. Women are primary actors in food production, food security, land management, and climate adaptation. One in three employed women work in the agriculture sector and almost half of the world’s farming population is comprised of women. Yet, women face many barriers, including the fact that they own less than 10 percent of the land, which has a negative impact on their access to financial streams, inputs, markets, or technologies.
Across the world, women are significantly less likely to access the necessary capital needed to start business endeavors. Moreover, due to social norms and discrimination patterns, women tend to work in occupations that have lower pay or work. Often this work is within the informal sector where they are not able to access traditional benefits and job security. These disadvantages translate into substantial gender gaps in earning, which in turn decreases women’s bargaining power and voice.
Opportunities for African Women in Agribusiness
In Africa, women face a persistent lack of access to tools and services in agriculture that would increase their capacity and make their lives easier. They are responsible for over 85 percent of postharvest and food preparation work, and they do this by hand using inefficient manual tools. If women had the same access to agricultural resources as men, they could increase farm yields by 20-30 percent, feeding an additional 150 million people a year. Indeed, by closing the gender gap alone, we could make critical strides in the fight against global hunger.
“We can and must work together to empower and embolden women in the food and agricultural sector. There is no reason to wait,” says Bountifield’s CEO Alexandra Spieldoch.
Women are the key to the future for a sustainable world. We are focused on helping African women in agribusiness develop their true potential with access to financing, technology and more opportunity.
“There’s no good reason not to empower African women to build successful food businesses,” stated Bountifield’s Advisory Board Member Donna Rosa. Donna is Chief Entrepreneurship Office and founder of EFour Enterprises a company providing remote business coaching for entrepreneurs in developing and emerging countries. “By providing small-scale processing equipment, business support services, or financial assistance, we can enable women to increase incomes and reduce food and nutrition insecurity at the same time. Sounds like a great investment to me.”
INVESTING IN WOMEN IS INVESTING IN A BOUNTIFUL FUTURE.
Make no mistake, women will lead the way to a future where extreme hunger and poverty no longer exist. Women are eleven times more likely than men to spend money on their family. More income goes toward paying for education, healthcare and other things to improve quality of life. Improving the productivity of women in agriculture will result in $300 billion of positive yearly economic growth across sub-Saharan Africa by 2025.
International Women’s Day is our reminder that in order for our society to thrive, benefits must be shared by everyone–no matter their gender, ethnicity, religion, age, or income level. It is time for ALL of us to #BreakTheBias. What will you do to progress gender equity this year?