Celebrating Rural Women Worldwide

Today we celebrate International Day for Rural Women. This day was established in 2007 by the United Nations (UN) to recognize "the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty". Women in the developing world participate in crop production and livestock care, provide food, water and fuel for their families - and care for children and in many cases, diversify their families' revenue sources with other income generating activities. The World Bank reports that African women work far longer hours than men; on average 50% longer.

In sub-Saharan Africa, smallholder farmers are primarily women. According to the UN, women grow 80-90 percent of the food in this region, and with the same farm inputs as their male counterparts, women actually increase their yields by 22% for such crops as maize, beans and cowpeas. Despite the fact that rural women farmers improve and adapt plant varieties, cultivate plants, and store and exchange seeds, have responsibility for food production and natural resource management, they have ownership of only 1% of the land.

Planet Aid supports women farmers through the Farmers' Club program. For example, the Talandria Farmers Club in the village of Madisi, Malawi is comprised almost entirely of women (see photo). The techniques that women in these clubs have learned through training and experimentation have helped them increase their crop yield in 2 years from by six fold. Read more about the success of Farmers Clubs.