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October 16, 2019

Celebrating the International Day of Rural Women

Across the U.S. and around the world, women are enhancing agricultural development.

October 15th is the International Day of Rural Women, serving as a reminder to recognize the contributions of female farmers around the world.

Over the last decade, women’s role in agriculture has not only grown but has become more accurately represented in data on an international scale. Based on the 2017 Census of Agriculture and international agriculture data, women are responsible for a substantial amount of agricultural labor on the whole—not just in the fields. This is especially true in developing countries, where most of the women’s work is devoted to agriculture. Rural women in agriculture continue to contribute to the industry in countless ways, including enhancing agricultural development, building climate resilience, and overcoming malnutrition and food insecurity.

Countless Contributions to Worldwide Food Production

Although the scope of agricultural labor differs from country to country, tools and resources are much more limited in developing countries—women add an incredible amount of value to rural communities. In the U.S. and across the globe, women are planting and harvesting crops, preparing food, taking care of the livestock, selling and marketing their goods, and caring for their families. In underdeveloped countries, where 43 percent of the agricultural labor is performed by women, work can be even more intensive, including gathering water and fuel by hand and on foot, among other strenuous tasks.

Empowering Rural Women and Girls

Historically, there has been an imbalance in agriculture between men and women. In an effort to remedy this issue there are many programs and initiatives that have been started in the U.S. and across the globe. As United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres stated, “The empowerment of rural women and girls is essential to building a prosperous, equitable, and peaceful future for all on a healthy planet.” Many organizations readily agree, with resources and programs that promise to assist, empower, and enable these women to accomplish their goals.

Promising Programs for Women in Ag

On the international scale, for example, UN Women currently administers a series of flagship programs, including women’s empowerment through climate-smart agriculture, women’s entrepreneurship for sustainable energy, and addressing the gender inequality of risk in a changing climate. In the United States, many of the resources for rural women in agriculture are business-focused, supporting a wide range of professions within the industry.

There are numerous programs that make a point of supporting women farmers, like In Her Boots, which provides resources, education and networking opportunities through workshops and online training. The Women in Ag Learning Network is another organization that aims to help farm and ranch women succeed through education and networking connections. Many organizations, like the Women, Food and Agriculture Network, organize specific workshops and conferences that cater to the challenges that face female farmers today. Also available are mentor and coaching programs, like the one offered by DowAgroSciences, which helps cultivate leadership skills. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to available resources, which is a good sign for women in agriculture everywhere.

A Brighter Future

With the new initiatives and programs taking hold of the agriculture industry, female farmers are positioned for great growth over the next decade. AgAmerica is proud to support rural women in agriculture, offering loan programs with low-interest rates and flexible payment plans. Learn more today by speaking with one of our lending experts today.

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