Updated: Mar 16, 2022
A special piece for International Women's Day.
If women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry people in the world could be reduced by 150 million, but globally women are just 13% of agricultural land holders. Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. Gender inequalities are typically more pronounced in rural areas, but conversely it is here that addressing these inequalities can catalyse immense social change, economic empowerment and climate resilience. The reliance of rural women on natural resources and the environment for food and medicine is a strong driver for the protection of the natural environment and the adoption of sustainable agricultural methods. They play an essential role in the preservation and management of biodiversity and promote practices that contribute to climate change mitigation.
SIGNATURE is committed to promoting gender equality at all levels of management and farming operations, and to promoting educational opportunities for girls. In communities where women are excluded from consultation and dialogue, we are insistent on creating women-only forums where their views can be heard. Where farm worker hiring practices are skewed towards men, ancillary economic opportunities for women are pursued – or specialist employment practices such as the creation of our women’s tractor driver programme in Nigeria. Our smallholder farmer programmes in Malawi and Nigeria intentionally target women farmers, and we anticipate that our nascent bee-keeping and tree nursery programmes will allow thousands of rural women to earn sustainable, independent incomes.