Men and women in agriculture: closing the gap


The level of human capital available in a household (usually measured as the education of the head of household or the average education of working-age adults in the household) is strongly correlated with measures such as agricultural productivity, household income and nutritional outcomes – all of which ultimately affect household welfare and economic growth at the national level.1

Gender differences in education are significant and widespread. In most countries, female heads have less education than their male counterparts and the evidence reflects a history of bias against girls in education. The gender gap in education is particularly acute in rural areas, where female household heads sometimes have less than half the years of education of their male counterparts.

Policy recommendations

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Key facts

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  1. World Bank. 2007. World Development Report 2008. Agriculture for development. Washington, DC.
  2. I. Ikdahl. 2008. “Go home and clear the conflict”: human rights perspectives on gender and land in Tanzania. In B. Englert & E. Daley, eds. Women’s land rights and privatization in Eastern Africa, pp. 40–60. Woodbridge, UK, James Currey; J. Brown. 2003. Rural women’s land rights in Java, Indonesia: strengthened by family law, but weakened by land registration. Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal, 12(3): 631–651.
  3. A.R. Quisumbing & L. Pandolfelli. 2010. Promising approaches to address the needs of poor female farmers: resources, constraints, and interventions. World Development, 38 (4): 581–592.
SOFA 2010-2011


FAO Gender Programme
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

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