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    Achieving Gender Equality in Agriculture

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    Hunger leads to many disputes as the people fight for survival. A robust agricultural sector is the solution to food-related crises in any society. Unfortunately, there has been considerable inequality in the industry. Over 43% of the agricultural labor force are women who incidentally are not empowered to actively participate in farming (“Achieving Gender Equality in Agriculture,” n.p.). The unproductivity of the women and their dependency leads to social conflicts due to limited food and other secondary benefits emanating from food security. If only women could be empowered like men, and involve themselves in farming, then many hunger-related conflicts would be prevented.

    Promoting women leadership in agriculture is a significant step towards achieving a violence-free society. From 1982 to 2007, the number of female-owned farms tripled in the US to about 306,000 farms (Huyer, 112). Today, over 30% of all farmers in the country are females’. However, despite this pleasing progress, there is a significantly low representation of women in leadership positions in the sector. Also, according to the author (113), in 2012, for all the bachelor’s degrees awarded in agriculture, women surpassed their male counterparts by 23%. Ironically, however, women only accounted for less than 10% of deans and vice presidents of agriculture at land-grant institutions. According to “Expanding Women’s Access to Financial Services” (n.p.), women leadership in any sector helps to improve the financial performance, better leveraging of talents and a better reflection of the market. A study on the collective intelligence of groups identified that groups, when one gender dominate, are collectively less intelligent and socially insensitive (“Achieving Gender Equality in Agriculture,” n.p).

    Women farmers comparatively perform poorly in agriculture because of limited access to resources. In particular, they lack land ownership rights and financial support. This tragedy strikes hard in most of the African countries and developing countries in Asia. But thanks to intensified global interventions, women participation in agriculture is continually improving. If only, this part of the population could be empowered, they would increase agricultural produce and feed the world. According to “Achieving Gender Equality in Agriculture” (n.p.), if women were given equal access to productive resources as men, the overall farm yields would rise by 20-30%. According to them, an additional 150 million of the world population would have access to decent food.

    Another significant initiative towards gender equality in agriculture is fostering policy change that increases women land ownership. Property rights are defined by countries, states, customs, traditions and histories (“Expanding Women’s Access to Financial Services,” n.p.). Even when the law protects the rights of women to acquire land, culture and traditions are seen as a major hindrance in some communities. The time, cost and the complexity of surveying and registering land often render most women hopeless in their quest to own land (“Achieving Gender Equality in Agriculture”). Employment of technology in the surveying and registration of lands can, however, reduce the time and costs incurred in these processes. According to Huyer (109), governments should invest in such technologies like drones to aid in the mapping process and the production of the national land registration system.

    Lastly, strengthening women access to financial services would also reduce gender disparity and consequently result in a harmonious society. Women disproportionately come across numerous financial barriers that limit their financial inclusion. According to “Expanding Women’s Access to Financial Services” (n.p.), one of the major problems that women face is the inability to access credit. Also, a majority of rural women in the developing world do not have an opportunity to open a bank account and thus are denied a chance of tapping their full potential. According to Huyer (113), women are 20% less likely to own a bank account compared to men in developing countries. They are also 17% less likely to borrow from a bank formally. In many communities also, women financial freedom is virtual (“Achieving Gender Equality in Agriculture”). While they may even own bank accounts, decisions concerning the account are made by a male relative.

    Food security is the key to achieving a peaceful society. Incidentally, the same cannot be achieved while women remain excluded in agriculture. Mobilizing their talents and supporting them will be a great deal in achieving a well-fed population. At the end of the day, the fight for women equality in the sector will have born us a cohesive world to live in.

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