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Issue paper

Gender dimensions of child labour in agriculture. Background paper

Child labour undermines efforts to eradicate hunger, malnutrition and poverty for present and future generations. According to the latest estimates, at the beginning of 2020 there were 160 million children involved in child labour globally, corresponding to almost one in ten of all children worldwide. Of this total, 70 percent were engaged in agriculture, making the sector the

primary source of child labour. Therefore, the progress or failure of SDG 8.7 – “eradicating child labour globally by 2025” – will be decided in agriculture.

In accordance with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ Framework on Ending Child Labour in Agriculture (FAO, 2020) and as a contribution to the 2021 International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, this paper highlights the often-neglected gender dimension of child labour in agriculture. It focuses mostly on the conditions of rural girls, because their work is often “invisible”, less valued, and associated with specific gender-based challenges such as overburdening with household chores, restrictions on personal freedom, and gender-based violence.

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