March 8th this year was International Women’s Day. Let’s take this opportunity to look back at this event, the theme of which this year focused on “empowering rural women to end hunger and poverty”.
The UN, which organised this event, believes that if women had the same access as men to production resources, they could increase agricultural harvests by 20% to 30%. And this could help prevent between 100 million and 150 million people worldwide suffering famine! Yet in the most disadvantaged countries, only 10% to 20% of landowners are women.
In rural environments, women are, however, “the pillar on which agricultural labour depends, in many developing countries”, explains the UN. “In South Asia and in sub-Saharan Africa, women make up 60% of workers in this sector”. And as they also perform a whole range of domestic chores too, they work more than 14 hours a day on average…and even more than 17 hours in some countries, like Benin.
Furthermore, again according to the UN, “the countries where hunger is greatest are also those where inequality between the sexes is most marked. Generally speaking, 60% of famine victims worldwide are women and children”.