Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems
Promoting Gender Equitable Opportunities: Why it Matters for Agricultural Value Chains
Women’s central role in agricultural development is well documented: women are engaged in laboring in the field, choosing seed varieties, caring for livestock, as well as processing and often marketing agricultural products. On smallholder family farms, women have historically and continue to provide a significant proportion of the agricultural labor force as unpaid household laborers. Women are also owners of farms, input supply stores, service delivery businesses, and export firms whose contributions to local, national, and global economies are far reaching.
As leading donors adopt value chain approaches to agricultural development, there is a strong imperative to consider gender issues. The Greater Access to Trade Expansion (GATE) Project’s approach to Promoting Gender Equitable Opportunities in Agricultural Value Chains is built on the growing body of empirical evidence that addressing gender issues in value chains can improve program outcomes. Developing value chains and supporting gender equity are mutually supportive goals.
Given the importance of agricultural development as a springboard to economic growth and enhanced food security, there are several compelling reasons for development programs to explicitly examine gender issues and proactively integrate gender components into value chain analysis and development strategies. Value chain programs, when designed with gender equitable principles, can foster both competitiveness and gender equity goals to enhance poverty-reduction impacts. This brief outlines the following key “evidence-based correlations” among gender equality, competitiveness, and empowerment that inform the GATE Project’s “Promoting Gender Equitable Opportunities in Agricultural Value Chains: A Handbook”:
✪ Increasing asset equality between men and women improves growth in the agricultural sector.
✪ Increasing gender equality in the labor market improves economic efficiency.
✪ Increasing opportunities for women improves equality and empowerment.