The rural woman – a powerful force that can drive global progress

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IITA joins the rest of the world to spotlight the people who feed the world—women.

We can recognize a rural woman from a distance. Her clothing is usually different from the urban woman’s; it is loose-fitting, mismatched, and often, this woman carries a baby with a few toddlers and grown offspring surrounding her. Most people would praise her by calling her “strong.” Indeed, she is strong, for only a strong woman can raise seven children, till the land, and take care of her other chores! But the rural woman is much more than the above stereotypes. António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, describes the rural woman as she truly is. “An early adopter of new agricultural techniques, a first responder in crises, and an entrepreneur of green energy; rural women are a powerful force that can drive global progress.”

Some facts about rural women and girls:

  • Women and girls play a crucial role in ensuring the sustainability of rural households and communities.
  • Women produce up to 80% of foodstuffs for household consumption and sale in local markets.
  • Over 60% of all employed women in sub-Saharan Africa work in agriculture.
  • Women account for a substantial proportion of the agricultural labor force, including informal work, and perform the bulk of unpaid care and domestic work within families and households in rural areas.
  • They contribute to agricultural production, food security and nutrition, land and natural resource management, and building climate resilience.

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