Men and women in agriculture: closing the gap
 

Livestock

Livestock are key asset in rural areas.In many countries, livestock are one of the most valuable agricultural assets and represent a source of income and wealth accumulation as well as an important source of resistance to shocks. Draught animals are also the main source of power for ploughing, land clearing and transportation in many regions. The evidence for livestock holdings points to systematic gender inequalities. The livestock holdings of female farmers are much smaller than those of men in all countries for which data are available, and women earn less than men from their livestock holdings. Women are also much less likely to own large animals, such as cattle and oxen, which are useful as draught animals.

Key facts

The livestock holdings of female farmers are much smaller than those of men in all countries for which data are available, and women earn less than men from their livestock holdings. Women are much less likely to own large animals, such as cattle and oxen that are useful as draught animals.

An estimated two-thirds of poor livestock keepers, totalling approximately 400 million people, are women.2

Female-headed households are as successful as male-headed households in generating income from their animals, although they tend to own smaller numbers of animals, probably because of labour constraints.

In specialized livestock activities such as the production of day-old chicks, and in slaughtering, processing and retail, women are visible wherever painstaking semi-skilled work is to be done.

On average, male-headed households have larger livestock holdings, than female-headed households.

Sources

  1. FAO. 2009. The State of Food and Agriculture 2009. Livestock in the balance. Rome.
  2. P.K. Thornton, R.L. Kruska, N. Henninger, P.M. Kristjanson, R.S. Reid, F. Atieno, A.N. Odero & T. Ndegwa. 2002. Mapping poverty and livestock in the developing world. Nairobi, ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute).
SOFA 2010-2011
Gender

Contact

FAO Gender Programme
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

email: gender@fao.org
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