Globally, women comprise on average 43% of the agricultural labour force in developing countries, and more than 50% in some parts of Asia and Africa. Research shows giving women access to agricultural resources, training and services helps them increase their farm productivity by 20 to 30%. As women gain increased control of household resources the outcomes for the next generation are improved, and women have a greater role in decision making.
ACIAR recognises the critical role women play in rural economies to grow food and help alleviate poverty. We all know women can be powerful agents of change—this is an important consideration when research and development programs are conceived, structured and delivered. ACIAR’s policy views gender equity as central to its activities. ACIAR assesses gender equity issues during project design, implementation and impact assessment to bring sustained change to women and men by influencing policies and laws, increasing access to services and changing attitudes and beliefs about women’s and men’s roles in our agricultural research projects. By working to better understand access to—and decision-making power over—productive resources such as land, livestock, agricultural equipment, extension knowledge and credit, ACIAR is better able to guide research on agricultural interventions so that benefits are accessible to women, men, girls and boys
Below is a collection of stories that demonstrate ACIAR’s commitment to gender equity, food security and working towards a world where no one lives in poverty.
In Papua New Guinea, a fisheries project has far greater influence thanks to the participation of women
The aim of the PNG inland aquaculture research project is to improve the practice of fish farming in a region where 80% of the population is unemployed, experiences protein deficiency and is subject to recurring tribal and gang violence. The project has been especially beneficial to women because of an innovative training program managed by Sister Pauline Kagl.
“Every person, whether they are the perpetrator of crime or the victim, can change their lives. Time and time again we have transformed people through the combined action fo fish farming and personal viability training” – Sister Pauline Kagl.
|Sister Pauline Kagl (right) in Jiwaka province, Papua New Guinea. Photo: Jes Sammut|
In Vietnam, significant steps towards gender equality have opened up new opportunities for
women. ACIAR is contributing by supporting talented women—such as Dr Nghiem Quyen
Chi—to pursue careers in agricultural research.
With ACIAR support, talented young women in developing countries are building their careers in agricultural research, with benefits that span individual, societal and national levels.
Check out this video about the project.
|Tropical acacias play an important role in Vietnam's forestry systems. Helping to ensure the acacias' performance is Dr Nghiem Quyen Chi of the Vietnamese Academy of Forest Sciences. Photo: Sally Ingleton|
An A$11 million project has been launched to improve the sustainability and resilience of farming systems in a region with the greatest concentration of rural poverty in the world—the eastern Gangetic Plain.
Women-headed households especially stand to benefit, with the project adopting gender-sensitive designs and extension tools.
|Out-migration has given rise to a new caste - the so-called 'left behind' women. Photo: Melissa Marion.|
Women in Lao PDR villages are producing and jointly marketing a surplus of organic vegetables, increasing their family income while improving consumer health and environmental sustainability.
ACIAR support is helping the women’s association spread economic benefit by expanding its
organised marketing from fewer than 30 women to include more than 160.
In Pakistan’s dairy sector, women and children proved instrumental in the adoption of productivity-improving know-how, both as farmers and extension officers
Innovation in the way extension services are delivered to Pakistan’s subsistence dairy farmers is raising productivity. Women and children proved instrumental to the rollout of productivity-enhancing extension services to Pakistan’s dairy sector. Women have helped raise productivity both as farmers
|Sobia Majeed (centre) with some of the female dairy farmers she worked with in Sindh, Pakistan, over the four projects in which extension services were innovated and tested in partnership with ACIAR. Photo: ACIAR|
Vietnam’s north-west provinces face a dual need for improved vegetable production systems and access to markets. An ACIAR project working to achieve both goals in ways that reduce poverty and malnutrition has found that the key to success is women.
This video will tell you more.
|Mother and child in Vietnam's north-western highlands. Photo: Phan Thuy Hien|
In 2015, the Philippines climbed to ninth in the World Economic Forum’s report measuring gender equality among 145 countries, the highest rank in the Asia–Pacific region. The strength of women is on display in an ACIAR project that is helping smallholder vegetable producers in the southern Philippines overcome low yields, pests and diseases so as to meet local market demand and improve nutrition and livelihoods.
|(From left) Dr Zenaida Gonzaga, Dr Lucia Borines and Dr Reny Gerona. Photo: ACIAR.|