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Achieving gender equality by empowering women in agrifood systems

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    Book (stand-alone)
    Why are women more food insecure than men? Exploring socioeconomic drivers and the role of COVID-19 in widening the global gender gap
    Background paper for The status of women in agrifood systems
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    Women face a higher prevalence of food insecurity than do men, both on a global scale and across all regions. This paper delves into the global determinants contributing to the gender gap in food insecurity and explores how the COVID-19 pandemic influenced its trajectory. Additionally, it estimates the impact of improvements in food security and incomes possible if gender gaps on farm productivity and wages were closed. Utilizing data from the Food Insecurity Experience Scale gathered from over 700 000 individuals across 121 countries, this study reveals that individuals aged 25–34 years, irrespective of their gender, and women residing in rural areas have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The econometric model allows the authors to estimate the elasticities of food security to income, which they then use to simulate the potential macrolevel benefits for the economy and food security if we were to eliminate the gender gaps in farm productivity and wages within agrifood systems. The findings suggest that addressing these disparities could result in an approximate USD 1 trillion increase in global gross domestic product and lift approximately 45 million people out of food insecurity. Additionally, the authors estimate that eliminating these gender disparities could reduce the current gap in food insecurity between women and men by at least 57 percent. This background paper was prepared to inform Chapters 1 and 6 of FAO’s report on The status of women in agrifood systems.
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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Women’s empowerment and gender equality in agrifood value chains in SIDS 2023
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    Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are among the most vulnerable countries impacted by food insecurity and malnutrition. Their reliance on remote markets for their food supplies threatens their economies and health. Due to climate change, SIDS are increasingly under pressure and facing challenges which undermine their capacities to produce safe and high-quality food at a reasonable price. An essential part of the solution to improve nutrition and respond to the climate crises is the transformation of agrifood systems in SIDS. As food producers, processors and traders, women and girls in SIDS are central to poverty eradication, climate-change-resilience and national economic growth. Yet, they face massive constraints in their access to assets, resources, leadership and decision-making due to deep-rooted gender inequalities. They often work in the less profitable activities in the agrifood value chain and in small-scale businesses, with limited capital and opportunities for digital innovation and growth, especially in the present context of economic downturns.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Empowering women farmers
    A mechanization catalogue for practitioners
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    Rural women across the world work along agri-food value chains performing numerous agricultural operations. Their work is increasingly affected by land degradation, climate change impacts, and out-migration. It is often unrecognized, unqualified, and unpaid. Moreover, the traditional division of labor often relegates women to manual, time-consuming operations with high degrees of drudgery. The combination of family responsibilities and insufficient access to critical services, information, and technologies, affects women’s work burden and their potential for income generation. For example, fewer rights over land make it more difficult for women to access subsidies, finance, or mechanization. There are three ways in which sustainable mechanization can empower women and respond to their needs:
    • as customers of mechanization service providers - reducing their drudgery, and freeing up time for resting or opting for other social or economic activities;
    • as operators of machinery and equipment or staff of a mechanization hiring services business - offering their service to others to earn an income;
    • as entrepreneurs managing their own mechanization hiring services agribusiness - providing a service for other farmers and generating revenue.
    The goal of this catalogue is to promote and support women’s access to sustainable agricultural mechanization as operators and/or managers. It lists and provides information on market-tested machinery and equipment for crop production and post-harvest operations. This catalogue highlights the potential for smallholder farmers, including women, to earn an income via mechanization hire service. The information for each machine or equipment includes:
    • its function
    • its main features
    • what it is suitable for
    • its technical specifications (key features only)
    • where to buy
    • its pictures.
    The target audience includes extensionists, gender experts, agricultural engineers, government officials, donors, micro-finance institutions, and implementing partners seeking to:
    • promote inclusive agricultural mechanization interventions;
    • reduce women’s drudgery and improve the efficiency of tasks they perform;
    • address gender issues in agriculture;
    • support economic opportunities for women as entrepreneurs.

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