Women in rural areas have the potential to raise agricultural production to levels that would feed up to 150 million more of the world's hungry people if they had equal access to land, financial services, education and technology, according to the UN Food and Agriculture's State of Food and Agriculture 2010-2011 report.
Giving women the same access as men to agricultural resources could increase production on women's farms in developing countries by 20 to 30 percent, raising total agricultural production in poorer countries by 2.5 percent to 4 percent. That could in turn reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12 to 17 percent, or 100 to 150 million people, the report says.
An estimated 925 million people in the world were undernourished in 2010, the vast majority of them in developing countries.
The State of Food and Agriculture 2010-2011 documents gender gaps in access to a wide range of agricultural resources, including land, livestock, farm labor, education, extension services, credit, fertilizers and mechanical equipment. Women in all regions generally have less access to land than men. For those developing countries for which data are available, between 3 and 20 percent of all landholders are women. The share of women in the agricultural labor force is much higher and ranges from 20 to 50 percent in developing country regions.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations