Rural women are essential to the struggle against hunger

Rural women make up more than a quarter of the world’s population and 43 percent of the world’s agricultural labor force.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, according to 2010 data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), women’s make up between 12 and 25 percent of the economically active population in agriculture, depending on the different areas.

Julio BerdeguĂ©, FAO representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, told IPS that “rural and indigenous communities have a crucial role to play in food security, first of all for their own peoples. The persistence of hunger is very high in indigenous populations. In many countries it doubles, triples or quadruples the national averages. If indigenous communities are not central actors, there is no way to solve hunger in those places.”

“The empowerment of indigenous women is part of the agenda in the fight against rural poverty, poverty and hunger in indigenous communities,” he said.

The UN Women agency warns, however, that “in practically all development measures, rural women are lagging behind rural men or urban women, as a consequence of deep-rooted gender inequalities and discrimination.”

“Less than 20 percent of the people in the world who own land are women, and although the global wage difference between women and men stands at 23 percent, in rural areas it can reach up to 40 percent,” it stated, to illustrate.

[Inter Press Service]

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