Farm women everywhere are amazing. Here in Canada, it’s increasingly common to see women heading up major farming operations, and/or working alongside their husbands and partners as equal decision makers.
In many of the countries where we work, women also play a critical role in agriculture—they work alongside their husbands as farmers, provide paid and unpaid agricultural labour, and operate their own farms. But they don’t necessarily have the same type of power to make decisions.
Gender equality for women farmers participating in our projects is something we’re aiming for as we work to end hunger around the world.
One of the frequent questions that comes up from Foodgrains Bank supporters is why we take so much care to talk about the impact our programs are having on women. So ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, I thought I’d take this opportunity to explain.
Women in the countries where we work play a central role in caring for children and running households. As well, the supplementary income they provide through their farming is integral for the well-being of their families. In fact, 80 percent of women in the lowest-income countries depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.
Just imagine—being responsible for getting up early to get water from the one point in your community, washing clothes by hand, preparing breakfast for several children over an outdoor coal stove—and then going off to work on your farm for the day! These women often need support and training to help them be as productive as possible in their farming activities.
When women are flourishing in their agricultural work, we know that their families are able to eat more. When families aren’t facing hunger regularly and women are able to make decisions that reflect their worth and the true role they have, then entire communities and families can flourish.
So, investing in women is an investment that extends well beyond just one individual woman taking part in an agricultural development project. It’s helping to make long-term, sustainable change in communities around the world— and it’s something all of our supporters are a part of. Thank you!
This article was published in the winter 2022 edition of Breaking Bread.