UN: Empowering women crucial to fighting hunger

UN: Empowering women crucial 
   to fighting hunger

March 08, 2011, Tuesday/ 17:42:00

Giving women better access to land, technology and other agricultural resources could reduce the number of hungry people by up to 150 million, a UN food agency said Monday.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a report released Monday that about 925 million people across the globe were undernourished in 2010. Of these, 906 million live in developing countries.

Giving women the same tools and resources as men, including financial services, education and access to markets, could increase agricultural production in developing countries by 2.5 to 4 percent. This could in turn reduce the number of hungry people by 12 to 17 percent, or by 100 to 150 million people. Director-General Jacques Diouf said ending discrimination against women in agriculture is necessary to win the fight against world hunger. “Gender equality is not just a lofty ideal, it is also crucial for agricultural development and food security,” he said.

Women make up 43 percent on average of the agricultural labor force in developing countries, said the report, released in Rome on the eve of international women’s day. Typically, rural women who are employed tend to be kept in low-wage jobs and have seasonal or part-time work, according to the FAO.

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