Our Work

Women in Agriculture


Resources for Researchers is a database intended as a source for researchers, policymakers, students, and the public to become better informed of major recent analysis on global food security. Included are different perspectives provided through a range of academic journals, government research, think tanks, popular press and opinion pieces, and scholarly reviews. This information has been collected from open sources and includes works that have been produced within the last decade. We have noted gated articles. We will regularly update the database as new works are published. We continue to add other topics. This is a collaborative project. If you think we’ve missed a major piece of work, please let us know.

Women in Agriculture

Around the world, female farmers play an important role in agricultural productivity.  However, women in agriculture face many more challenges than their male counterparts, including barriers related to land ownership, access to technology and machinery, training, decision-making powers, and participation in value chains.  As a result, female farmers are unable to reach their full potential.  Removing the barriers faced by women farmers would boost agricultural output, strengthen women’s abilities to feed themselves and their families, improve their economic situation, and further promote greater global food security.  Organizations investing in agricultural development should examine the untapped role that female farmers can play and take this into consideration as they create and implement their programs.



Strategies for Integrating Gender into Agricultural Development Projects

Gendered Measurement and Data Collection in Agricultural Development Projects

Female Land and Asset Ownership

Female Farmers in Value Chains

Female Farmers’ Access to Technology and Training

Female Farmers’ Cooperatives

Women and Livestock

Female Farmers in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean

Gender and Agriculture Databases

Organizations to Follow

Gender in Agriculture Sourcebook

The World Bank; 2008

This book provides a thorough examination of the relationship between gender and sixteen themes of rural agricultural development.


Gender in Ag FAQ

The World Bank, IFAD, and FAO; 2014

The World Bank, FAO, and IFAD provide answers to some basic questions regarding gender inequalities in rural areas and investment in women farmers.

Teach a Woman to Fish: Overcoming Poverty Around the Globe

Ritu Sharma; 2014

In this novel, Sharma discusses her firsthand experiences interacting with women in developing countries, explains the systems that restrict women worldwide from achieving their full potentials, and suggests strategies for helping women to overcome these systems and break out of poverty.                                      

The Feminization of Farming

Olivier de Schutter; New York Times; 2013

This article discusses the food security gains that could be made by removing barriers faced by female farmers.

Gender Equality and Food Security

FAO and The Asian Development Bank; 2013

This piece explains how empowering women and increasing female farmers’ productivity can improve global food security.

Closing the Gender Gap

Ruth Meinzen-Dick and Agnes Quisumbing; IFPRI; 2012

This chapter provides information about efforts that have been made to empower women in agriculture, as well as what remains to be done.

The Female Face of Farming

Farming First and FAO; 2012

This infographic provides statistics on why women are important to agriculture, as well as on the location and effects of a gender gap in agriculture.

Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Policy

IFAD; 2012

This IFAD document discusses gender inequalities in rural agriculture and provides  policy recommendations to promote female empowerment in agriculture and rural development.

Q & A with ICRW’s Silvia Paruzzolo

ICRW; 2012

Silvia Paruzzolo addresses some common misconceptions about gender and agricultureand suggests ways to create “gender-responsive” agriculture programs.

Rural Women’s Empowerment: A Long Road Ahead

FAO; 2012

This article provides a brief discussion of the benefits of empowering female farmers and ways to bring about this empowerment.

Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Gender Fact Sheet

Feed the Future; 2012

This Feed the Future fact sheet provides basic information on its efforts with women in agriculture, including reasons to invest in them and strategies for the future.

The State of Food and Agriculture: Women in Agriculture

FAO; 2011

FAO discusses the role of women in various areas of agricultural work, strategies for collecting data on women and agriculture, ways to close the gender gap in agriculture, and benefits from closing this gap.

The Vital Role of Women in Agriculture and Rural Development

FAO; 2011

FAO explains women’s role in agriculture, ways to strengthen female farmers, and the benefits of doing so.

Gender Dimensions of Agricultural and Rural Employment: Differentiated Pathways Out of Poverty

FAO, IFAD, and ILO; 2010

This piece looks at the agricultural roles of men and women, considers the causes of women’s inferior positions, suggests policy options for empowering female farmers, and includes six relevant research papers.

Investing in Rural Women for Food Security

FAO; 2010

This article provides a brief description of problems faced by rural women farmers, solutions that they have developed, and strategies that they have recommended.

Women, Food Security, and Agriculture in a Global Marketplace

Rekha Mehra and Mary Hill Rojas; International Center for Research on Women (ICRW); 2008

ICRW discusses background information on women in agriculture, including problems faced by female farmers, as well as recommendations and opportunities for future agricultural development programs.

Strategies for Integrating Gender into Agricultural Development Projects

Addressing Gender in Climate-Smart Smallholder Agriculture

Q Bernier, P Franks, P Kristjanson, H Neufeldt, A Otzelberger, and K Foster; ICRAF; 2013

This brief discusses obstacles to female participation in climate-smart smallholder agriculture as well as lessons learned from past projects and recommendations for empowering female farmers in the future.

Ending Poverty: Learning from Good Practices of Small and Marginal Farmers

Eve Crowley; FAO and Self-Employed Women’s Association; 2013

This list of “good practices” was obtained from visits with smallholder female farmers in India.

A Roadmap for Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment

Mayra Buvinic, Rebecca Furst-Nichols, and Emily Courey Pryor; UN Foundation and ExxonMobil Foundation; 2013

This “roadmap” to female economic empowerment includes strategies to empower women farmers and rural entrepreneurs.

A Tool for Gender-Sensitive Agriculture and Rural Development Policy and Programme Formulation

FAO; 2013

FAO explains how to use the CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) to create programs that bring about gender equality in agriculture and rural development.

Rural Women: Policies to Help them Thrive

Farming First; 2013

Farming First provides a comprehensive list of strategies for improving the lives of rural women.

Cultivating Women’s Participation: Strategies for Gender Responsive-Agriculture Programming

Anjala Kanesathasan; Tanzania Gender and Agriculture Forum; 2012

This brief introduces techniques aimed at improving women’s response to agriculture programming using two case studies in Tanzania. 

Engendering Agricultural Research, Development, and Extension

R Meinzen-Dick, A Quisumbing, J Behrman, P Biermayr-Jenzano, V Wilde, M Noordeloos, C Ragasa, and N Beintema; IFPRI; 2011

In this comprehensive monograph IFPRI provides suggestions on how to include gender in the research, development, and extension stages of agricultural development projects.

Women and Agriculture: Improving Global Food Security

Feed the Future; 2011

This Feed the Future (the U.S.government’s whole of government global food security initiative)  document discusses the importance of investing in female farmers and best practices in creating related policy.

Integrating Gender Issues in Food Security, Agriculture, and Rural Development

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN ; 2010

The FAO  provides strategies for including gender concerns in Joint Programmes for agriculture, food security, and rural development.

Promising Approaches to Address the Needs of Small Female Farmers

Agnes R. Quisumbing and Lauren Pandolfelli; IFPRI; 2009

IFPRI analyzes past interventions focused on female farmers and makes recommendations for future projects.

Toolkit for Integrating Gender-Related Issues in Land Policy and Administration Projects

The World Bank, FAO, and IFAD; 2008

The World Bank, FAO, and IFAD provide guidelines and suggestions for including gender in land policy projects.

Gendered Measurement and Data Collection in Agricultural Development Projects

Gender Issues in Monitoring and Evaluation in Agriculture

The World Bank; 2012

The World Bank provides strategies for and examples of including gender in the monitoring and evaluation of rural agricultural development projects.

A Toolkit on Collecting Gender and Assets Data in Qualitative and Quantitative Program Evaluations

IFPRI and ILRI; 2012

This toolkit offers suggestions and best practices for collecting data on gender and assets.

Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index

Feed the Future; 2012

Feed the Future gives an overview of its Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index, which it uses to evaluate the efficacy of development programs aimed at promoting gender parity in agriculture. 

Capturing the Gender Effect: Guidance for Gender Measurement in Agricultural Programs

A Kanesathasan, K Jacobs, M Young, and A Shetty; Tanzania Gender and Agriculture Forum; 2011

This brief discusses helpful information for choosing and tracking gender indicators in agricultural development projects.

Female Land and Asset Ownership

Governing Land for Women and Men

FAO; 2013

FAO provides strategies for achieving gender equity in land tenure.

Gender Inequalities in Ownership and Control of Land in Africa

C Doss, C Kovarik, A Peterman, A R. Quisumbing, M van den Bold; IFPRI; 2013

IFPRI provides the results of its review of a numberof studies to better understand the data on gender-based differences in land control and ownership in Africa.

Closing the Gender Asset Gap: Learning from Value Chain Development in Africa and Asia

A Quisumbing, D Rubin, C Manfre, E Waithanji, M van den Bold, D Olney, and R Meinzen-Dick; UN Foundation and ExxonMobil Foundation; 2013

This article looks at the relationships between gender, asset control, and participation in the agricultural value chain, specifically in relation to four agricultural development projects.

Voluntary Guidelines on Land: A Milestone in the Movement for Gender Equality

FAO; 2012

Produced by the FAO and CFS, this landmark document lays out a key set of guidelines for countries voluntarily seeing to implement responsible land tenure systems with the goal of obtaining increased food security.  It addresses key challenges of women’s land rights and empowerment.

Women and Land

Debbie Budlender and Eileen Alma; International Development Research Center; 2011

The authors  provide an overview of the relationship between women and land tenure, including background information, country-specific studies, and policy lessons for the future.

Gender Differences in Assets

FAO; 2011

This article looks at gender differences in ownership of assets important to agricultural productivity.

Gender Land and Asset Survey: Uganda

Aslihan Kes, Krista Jacobs, and Sophie Namy; ICRW; 2011

ICRW compares the land and asset holdings of men and women in Uganda.

Gender Land and Asset Survey: South Africa

K Jacobs, S Namy, A Kes, U Bob, and V Moodley; ICRW; 2011

ICRW compares the land and asset holdings of men and women in eastern South Africa.

A Review of Empirical Evidence on Gender Differences in Nonland Agricultural Inputs, Technology, and Services in Developing Countries

Amber Peterman, Julia Behrman, and Agnes Quisumbing; IFPRI; 2010

IFPRI reviews studies on gender differences in access to nonland agricultural inputs and discusses their policy implications.

Female Farmers in Value chains

Missing Link in the Value Chain: Achieving Food Security through Women’s Access to Markets

Women Thrive Worldwide; 2011

This piece provides background information  and strategies for increasing smallholder female farmers’ market access.

Mainstreaming Gender Sensitivity in Cash Crop Market Supply Chains

Ruth Vargas Hill and Marcella Vigneri; FAO; 2011

This paper discusses constraints to female farmers producing cash crops.

Improving Opportunities for Women in Smallholder-based Supply Chains

Man-Kwun Chan and Stephanie Barrientos; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; 2010

This guide provides  strategies for international food companies on how to engage  women  in smallholder-based supply chains.

Agricultural Value Chain Development: Threat or Opportunity for Women’s Employment?

FAO, IFAD, and ILO; 2010

This brief considers whether agricultural value chains controlled by large businesses are beneficial to or hurt smallholder female farmers.

Gender and Agricultural Value Chains

Christopher Coles and Jonathan Mitchell; FAO; 2010

FAO assesses factors contributing to gender gaps in the participation in and benefit from agriculture value chains.

Liberia: Gender-Aware Programs and Women’s Roles in Agricultural Value Chains

World Bank’s Gender and Development Group and the Ministry of Gender and Development of Liberia; 2010

This memo discusses women’s roles in agriculture in Liberia, problems faced by female Liberian farmers, and provides suggestions for supporting women farmers, and available data.

Gender Impacts of Globalizing Agriculture

Zoraida Garcia; FAO; 2009

FAO explains how globalization affects female farmers.

Female Farmers’ Access to Technology and Training

Increasing Access to Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services: How effective are new approaches in reaching farmers in rural areas?

Michele Mbo’o-Tchouawou and Kathleen Colverson; ILRI; 2014

ILRI provides observations on the efficacy of agricultural extension and advisory services in reaching female farmers and recommendations for the future.

Gender and Institutional Dimensions of Agricultural Technology Adoption: A Review of Literature and Synthesis of 35 Case Studies

Catherine Ragasa; International Association of Agricultural Economists; 2012

IAAE provides a summary of 35 studies on gender differences in agricultural technology adoption.

Gender Differences in Access to Extension Services and Agricultural Productivity

C Ragasa, G Berhane, F Tadesse, and AS Taffesse; IFPRI and EDRI; 2012

This article looks at gender differences in access to agricultural extension and their effects on technology adoption, input use, and productivity.

Communicating Gender for Rural Development

FAO; 2011

FAO offers strategies for reaching rural women farmers with information in communications projects.

Female Farmers’ Cooperatives

Agricultural Cooperatives and Gender Equality

FAO, IFAD, and WFP; 2012

This issue brief discusses how agricultural cooperatives can benefit female farmers and provides recommendations on how to strengthen them.

Cooperatives: Empowering Women Farmers, Improving Food Security

FAO; 2012

FAO explains how cooperatives benefit female farmers and how to get women farmers involved in them.

Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture: Collective Action through Group Structures


This study discusses the effects of forming collectives of female farmers in India.

The Role of Women Producer Organizations in Agricultural Value Chains

Aziz Elbehri and Maria Lee; SEWA and IFAD; 2011

This article discusses and draws lessons from female farmers’ organizations in India and Africa.

Women and Livestock

Women, Livestock Ownership, and Markets

Jemimah Njuki and Pascal C. Sanginga; ILRI, IDRC, and Routledge; 2013

This book provides a comprehensive overview of a number of issues related to gender and livestock.

Understanding and Integrating Gender Issues into Livestock Projects and Programmes

FAO; 2013

FAO looks at the role gender plays in livestock management and provides suggestions for creating gender-responsive livestock projects.

Guidelines on Integrating Gender in Livestock Projects and Programs

J Njuki, E Waithanji, N Bagalwa, and J Kariuki; ILRI; 2013

ILRI discusses the relationship between gender and livestock and provides guidelines for integrating gender into livestock programs.

Women are Main Guardians of Crucial Livestock Diversity

FAO; 2012

FAO discusses women’s role as protectors of indigenous breeds, which are important to food security, and the need to further document this role.

Female Farmers in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean

Levelling the Field: Improving Opportunities for Women Farmers in Africa

The World Bank and ONE; 2014

This study contains data on gender and agriculture from six African countries, discusses causes of the agricultural gender gap in these nations, and provides policy suggestions for narrowing the gap.


Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index: Baseline Report

HJ Malapit, K Sproule, C Kovarik, R Meinzen-Dick, A Quisumbing, F Ramzan, E Hogue, and S Alkire; Feed the Future; 2013

Feed the Future provides profiles of thirteen countries and cross-country comparisons using its Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index.

(Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean)

Structural Transformation and Gender Rights in African Agriculture: What Pathways to Food Sovereignty and Sustainable Food Security?

Bola O Akanji; Yale University Program in Agrarian Studies; 2013

This study discusses the challenges that rural women face as a structural transformation in agriculture occurs across the African continent, addresses  the relationship between gender, food security, and land rights, and offers ideas for future projects.


Increasing the Productivity and Empowerment of Women Smallholder Farmers

Jemimah Njuki, Elizabeth Kruger, and Laurie Starr; CARE; 2013

Pathways, a program focused on increasing the productivity and empowerment of poor women farmers, developed this baseline study of six countries - Malawi, Tanzania, Ghana, Mali, Bangladesh and India.

(Africa and Asia)

FAO-Government Project to Intensify Agriculture Pays off for Female Farmers in Niger

FAO; 2013

FAO describes the success of a microfinance project for female farmers in Niger.


Gender and Agriculture Databases

Agri-Gender Statistics Toolkit


FAO provides a collection of sex-disaggregated agricultural data from fourteen African countries.

Feed the Future

The U.S. Government’s Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative

Gender and Land Rights Database


FAO provides data on gender and land rights from 80 countries.

Organizations to Follow

Feed the Future

The U.S. Government’s Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) 

An organization working to provide sustainable solutions to hunger and poverty

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) 

A UN organization dedicated to eliminating hunger, ending poverty, and achieving sustainable resource management

International Center for Research on Women (ICRC) 

An organization dedicated to empowering women and fighting poverty through research, capacity building, and support for evidence-based and pragmatic policies

Women Thrive

A nonprofit organization working to make women’s voices heard by leaders in Washington, DC