We are lucky to live in a country that has long since abandoned the image of the damsel in distress. Even Disney princesses now save themselves and send unsuitable “saviours” packing. But despite the great strides being made in gender equality, we are still failing rural women, particularly women farmers.
Women are not only the world’s primary food producers. They are hardworking and innovative and, they invest far more of their earnings in their families than men. But most lack the single most important asset for accessing investment resources – land rights.
Jawadi Vimalamma, 36, looks admiringly at her cell phone. It’s a simple device that can only be used to send or receive a call or a text message. Yet to the farmer from the village of Janampet, located 150 km away from Hyderabad, capital of the southern Indian state of Telangana, it symbolises a wealth of knowledge that changed her life.
Women in Bangladesh are carving healthier, wealthier futures for themselves and their children – and they have chicken eggs and pineapples to thank.
For more than 10 years, Mildred Crawford has been “a voice in the wilderness” crying out on behalf of rural women in agriculture.
Shyline Chipfika, 26, is one of thousands of Zimbabwean women in urban centres who have struck gold by growing potatoes. And a lot of their success has to do with an import ban.
Sabina Shey Nkabiy, a farmer in Cameroon's North West Region, moves around these days with a million-dollar smile on her face. The mother of six, who used to trek 10 kilometres a day to farm, now harvests food in her backyard.
Climbing up the coconut industry has been anything but easy for Rosamund Benn, who has dedicated the past 32 years of her life working on a 50-acre coconut farm in The Pomeroon, a farming region of Guyana.
In the face of global climate change and currency devaluation, improved strategies are being used to combat high international poverty and malnutrition rates, and to increase global food security.
Chelmet Padmamma, 42, of Babanagar village in southern India’s drought-prone Medak district, is a happy woman: the rain has come earlier this year, thrice soaking the three-acre farm that she co-owns with four other women from her village.
When the United Nations launched its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) back in 2001, two of its primary objectives were to halve extreme poverty and hunger by 2015 and promote gender empowerment worldwide.
The world’s food security remains “vulnerable”, new data suggests, with some 870 million people experiencing sustained hunger and two billion suffering from micronutrient deficiencies.
In a major endorsement for investment in women - the bulk of food growers in the developing world - United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said food security could not be achieved without women, and that the world's hungry also needed leaders to prioritise actions.
If women had equal access to productive farming resources, they could increase their yields by 20 to 30 percent and potentially raise total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5 to four percent.
At Gakoromone Market in Meru, in Kenya’s Eastern Province, Ruth Muriuki arrives in a pickup full of tomatoes and cabbages despite the scarcity of rainfall in the area, thanks to the greenhouse technology she uses on her farm – and microcredit.