Rural women are important players in food security and agricultural and economic development — as seed savers and land tillers, as community leaders and family managers. They produce more than half of all the food that is grown in the world (fao.org.)
Yet, women remain marginalised due to various threats to land, food, seeds, water and other productive resources, which are crucial for communities who depend on these for their livelihood and survival. The phenomenon of land and resource grabbing, massive use of hazardous chemicals such as pesticides, introduction of genetically engineered (GE) crops in farms and the decreasing control over seeds, changing climate patterns that either bring floods or drought, are some of the critical barriers that aggravate the oppression and exploitation of women in agriculture. Already marginalised in terms of access to land and resources, their physical and economic displacement due to land and resource grabbing further impinge on their rights as food producers and providers.
Women’s roles and contribution in farms and communities also remain unrecognized and undervalued. Women’s voices and demands remain silent to stakeholders – opinion- and policymakers, media and the public – who are crucial in influencing and making gender-responsive policies beneficial to women in agriculture.
The campaign WOMEN ASSERT OUR RIGHTS TO LAND AND RESOURCES is a platform that aims to highlight rural women’s leadership, rights and role in agricultural development and food security. It is a space to enrich experiences, share strategies and consolidate efforts through advocacy and grassroots work from local to global levels. Creating these spaces for rural women will facilitate in their empowerment process and strengthen the movement in asserting their rights to land and resources.