4 myths on women in agriculture (journal)

Women in agriculture: Four myths

Despite the emerging global movement for reliable indicators, well-intentioned but statistically unfounded stylized facts on women, agriculture, and the environment continue to circulate. This paper inspects four pervasive gender myths:

  1. Women account for 70% of the world's poor;
  2. Women produce 60–80% of the world's food;
  3. Women own 1% of the world's land; and
  4. Women are better stewards of the environment.

These claims are myths. Like all myths, they embody an important truth, that women control fewer resources than those required to fulfill their responsibilities to ensure food and nutrition security. However, none of these myths are based on sound empirical evidence. To develop effective policies to promote food security, it is necessary to have appropriate data on women's and men's roles in food production and natural resource management and the gendered constraints that they face.

By evaluating the data and assumptions behind these myths, we contribute to both the academic and policy conversations on gender and rural development, making the case for collecting and using better data to capture the variation—over space and time—in the roles and status of women.