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Celebrating International Women’s Day 2016

CTA regards the full empowerment of women as essential to enable gender equality in engagement.

March 8, 2016

The importance of women in CTA’s work cannot be over-emphasised. Almost half of economically active women worldwide depend on agriculture for their livelihood, a figure that rises to almost 80% in least developed countries. And yet women earn less than men for the same tasks, have fewer rights to land and property, and where they do hold land, it is generally poorer than land held by men. 

Differences in the yields obtained by men and women are the result not of less skill but of lower access to inputs. And because women make decisions about what their family eats, empowering women has a disproportionate beneficial effect. One study showed that an increase of US$10 in a woman's income has the same impact on household food and nutrition security as an increase in a man's income of US$110. More broadly, studies have shown that given access to the same productive resources as men, women can increase national gross domestic product by about 4%.

Women are already deeply engaged in agriculture; the problem is that they lack influence in the sector. Hence, the need to empower women is clear, and by empowerment CTA understands giving women the ability to participate in policy processes, a forum where they can voice their concerns – and be heard! – and ensuring that they have access to and control over resources.

The importance of integrating women into value chains is beyond doubt. Estimates suggest that full integration can boost a country's agricultural output by around 3% and reduce worldwide malnutrition by 17%, with spin-off benefits outside the food system.

CTA will work with partners to offer women the assistance, training and access they need. Overall, CTA's Gender Strategy aims to highlight the presence of women as a marker of the inclusiveness of value chains and to demonstrate how the inclusion of women increases the benefits derived from such value chains. Participation in policy processes is also crucial, and can be part of a positive feedback loop: the more that empowered women can influence policy decisions, the more empowered women will be. In fact, CTA regards the full empowerment of women as absolutely essential to enable gender equality in engagement.

Read CTA's articles paying tribute to women who are making a difference in agricultural development

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim: 'A champion for the rights of indigenous people'

Rose Kamanga: 'Rose’s smart tips for climate change'

Rose Funja: 'From GPS to drones – women leading the way'

Eretii Timeon: 'Women hold the key to better nutrition'

Rosamund Benn: 'Small association, big ambitions'

Elisabeth Atangana: 'A voice for women farmers'

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