United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)
IPM - New York 23 ? 27 February 2009
Women in agriculture
Key points
? Strengthen women?s position in agriculture, including
promoting women?s rights to inherit and own land.
? Strengthen female influence and power in the
agriculture sector
Agriculture and rural development cannot be sustainable
unless women are involved as equal partners in the process
at all levels. Their role is especially important in poverty
reduction as so many small-scale farmers in poor
developing countries are women. In many areas, women?s
agricultural production is the key to children?s food
Protection and opportunity through property rights for
women should be emphasized in development efforts and
assistance programmes so that women can obtain tenure
security and thus make them stronger in developing both
market and societal relations. In many countries women are
often excluded from their rights both at birth, as wives,
widows, and sisters. Gender equality is a matter of both
justice and human rights. It is also smart economics. That?s
why women?s empowerment and gender equality is one of five
priorities of Norwegian international development
cooperation policy. It is also one of three areas for
intervention in our Aid for Trade policy.
In Norway, as in many other countries, women are leaving
rural areas. They leave to get more education, employment
and independence. To meet this challenge, Norwegian
authorities and farmers? organisations are in dialogue to
increase female participation in the agricultural sector,
with an aim to reach a female participation of 40 per cent in
all agricultural businesses. A Government strategy
called Equality in the Agricultural Sector has been
developed to make rural areas more interesting for women in
general. The aim is that women and men shall have the same
opportunity to own a farm and to run a farm. Promoting
diversified economic activities in rural areas, thus creating
new job opportunities is a pillar of this strategy. Traditional
agriculture shall be upheld while at the same time we
promote niche marketing within a broad range of fields. The
strategy involves several stake holders, ranging from
official bodies to the individual farmer and farmers? unions.
Some of the most important instruments are financial
support directed especially at young female farmers, and
strengthening female participation in farm cooperatives.