As South Africa commemorates Women’s Month, the country will reflect on the progress made in achieving gender equality and main-streaming the gender agenda across all areas, including agriculture.
Agriculture sustains 70% of Africa’s livelihoods, while playing an integral role as an engine of economic growth and poverty reduction. African women, on average, make up 40% of the agricultural labour workforce and produce 70% of Africa’s food, but their contributions continue to be barely recognised. Many face gender discrimination according to a survey by American agricultural chemical and seed company Corteva Agriscience, which was carried out in several African countries.
This is despite several multi-pronged initiatives to help women launched by African governments, universities, nongovernmental organisations and others.
African Women in Agricultural Research and Development, for example, is an initiative aimed at mentoring, empowering and raising the next generation of women in agricultural sciences, while strengthening their research and leadership skills. The Kenyan government passed affirmative policies that preferentially give tenders to African women-led agricultural enterprises. International aid agencies such as USAID also have initiatives aimed at correcting gender imbalances in agriculture. Continue reading…