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While women contribute significantly to global agricultural production, they often lack access to credit and finance, training and extension services, resources, and land rights, putting them at higher risk of malnutrition, food insecurity, and poverty. Increasing women’s empowerment in agriculture is a critical step in ensuring gender equity and reducing hunger for all.
Ownership and control of assets have become increasingly recognized for their role in reducing poverty and improving individuals’ and households’ long-term well-being. In addition, research has shown that women’s ownership and control of assets can have important development outcomes both for women themselves and for their families.
March 22 is World Water Day, which focuses this year on the link between water and jobs. As the latest IFPRI blog points out, this link is particularly important for women in rural areas. The majority of women in developing countries engage in agricultural work, whether that is production of food for sale in the market or more production of food for their own households in kitchen gardens.
At first glance, it may seem that women in northern Mozambique might enjoy more power than women in other places, at least in the agricultural sector. In this region, land is often passed through matrilineal rather than patrilineal lines. And since the enactment of the Mozambique Land Law in 1997, one might expect that women here are better able to access land and retain control over land they bring with them into marriage.
Use, control, and ownership of productive assets – land, money, livestock, and education, to name just a few – are essential stepping stones on the path out of poverty. But this pathway can look very different depending on whether you are a man or a woman. Growing evidence suggests that women typically have fewer assets than men, and that they use those assets differently. What’s more, agricultural development programs may impact men’s and women’s assets in different, sometimes unexpected, ways.