Women and the crisis of land, food, water, and climate change
In Asia, agriculture remains the main form of productive economic activity, relied upon for livelihoods by an estimated 2.2 billion people. The sector continues to serve as a major source of food and feed crops, not only in countries across Asia but the whole world.
Grassroots rural women and girls are far from being economically dependent on men as typically portrayed. They make up 20 percent of the agricultural labor force in Latin America and nearly 50 percent in East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa (Nowakowski). They continue to play critical roles in the whole agricultural value chain within their homes and communities, from agricultural cultivation and production, trading and vending, to food preparation, processing and storage. In the past several years, as more men exit from the agriculture, the sector has grown “feminized” in terms of the ratio of women to men.
Ironically, despite the vital contributions of agriculture to human society, agricultural regions consistently register some of the highest levels of poverty incidence in the region and the world. Agriculture and rural communities are also where around 70% of the world’s poor are concentrated, and where the poorest and most marginalized and excluded are grassroots women and girls.