International framework

Under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2015), the international community has committed itself, in Goal 2, to end all forms of malnutrition, to address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women, and older persons and to double the incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment.1

Worldwide, at least 795 million people are suffering from hunger; this is one in nine persons.2
Around 60% of undernourished people in the world are women and girls.3

Agricultural labour force participation

Female share in agricultural labour force (in %)6

On average, women provide more than 43% of the agricultural labour force in developing countries. However, their access to and control over land, productive resources and services is limited.4 In many regions, women are rarely represented in rural organisations and institutions. As a consequence, women’s voices are rarely heard in decision-making processes that influence policies and strategies at communal level.5

Land Rights

In some regions, up to 90% of food is produced by women.7 However, discriminatory social norms and laws, as well as traditional structures and practices hinder women from owning and inheriting land.8

Female landholders

Male landholders

Globally, only 10 to 20% of all landholders are women.9 Moreover, their plots are generally smaller and of lower quality.10

In some regions, farms operated by female-headed households are on average only half to two thirds the size of farms operated by male-headed households.11

Access to productive resources

If women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20–30%. This, in turn, could raise the agricultural output in developing countries in total by up to 4%, potentially reducing the number of people affected by hunger by 100-150 million.14

Female farmers receive only 5% of agricultural extension services.13

Women’s access to capital and financial services is limited, and they face inequalities regarding access to livestock, inputs such as seeds and fertilizers, technology, market information and knowledge.12

  1. UN General Assembly A/RES/70/1 (2015): “Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld
  2. FAO (2015): “The State of Food Insecurity in the World”. http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4646e.pdf p. 8.
  3. BRIDGE (2014): “Gender and Food Security. Towards Gender-Just Food and Nutrition Security. Overview Report”. http://opendocs.ids.ac.uk/opendocs/bitstream/handle/123456789/5245/IDS_Bridge_Food_Security_Report_Online.pdf?sequence=3 p. 3.
  4. FAO (2015): “Infographic”. http://www.fao.org/gender/infographic/en/.
  5. GIZ (2013): „Ländliche Entwicklung und Agrarwirtschaft. Themeninfo: Gleichberechtigte Teilhabe (Gender)“. http://www.giz.de/fachexpertise/downloads/giz2013-de-themeninfo-gleichberechtigte-teilhabe-(gender).pdf p. 1f.
  6. FAO (2011): “The State of Food and Agriculture. Women in Agriculture. Closing the Gender Gap for Development”. http://www.fao.org/docrep/013/i2050e/i2050e.pdf p. 104ff. (Table A3).
  7. BMZ: „Frauenrechte. Hintergrund: Weltweite Diskriminierung von Frauen“. http://www.bmz.de/de/was_wir_machen/themen/menschenrechte/frauenrechte/hintergrund/index.html.
  8. FAO (2015): “Infographic”. http://www.fao.org/gender/infographic/en/.
  9. FAO (2011): “The State of Food and Agriculture. Women in Agriculture. Closing the Gender Gap for Development”. http://www.fao.org/docrep/013/i2050e/i2050e.pdf p. 36f.
  10. FAO (2015): “Infographic”. http://www.fao.org/gender/infographic/en/.
  11. FAO (2011): “The State of Food and Agriculture. Women in Agriculture. Closing the Gender Gap for Development”. http://www.fao.org/docrep/013/i2050e/i2050e.pdf p. 37f.
  12. GIZ (2013): “Gender and Food & Nutrition Security”. https://www.giz.de/fachexpertise/downloads/giz2012-en-gender-and-food-and-nutrition-security.pdf p. 1.
  13. FAO (2015): „Infographic“. http://www.fao.org/gender/infographic/en/.
  14. FAO (2011): “The State of Food and Agriculture. Women in Agriculture. Closing the Gender Gap for Development”. http://www.fao.org/docrep/013/i2050e/i2050e.pdf p. vi.