Women comprise a large proportion of the agricultural labor force in Sub-Saharan Africa, on FAO figures ranging from 30 to 80 per cent. Yet women farmers are consistently found to be less productive than male farmers. The gender gap in agricultural productivity—measured by the value of agricultural produce per unit of cultivated land—ranges from 4 to 25 per cent, depending on the country and the crop. This gap exists because women frequently have unequal access to key agricultural inputs such as land, labor, knowledge, fertilizer, and improved seeds. The fact that the gender gap persists suggests that the underlying constraints are still inadequately tackled in agricultural policy strategies and programs. Low agricultural productivity tends to reduce per hectare yields and leads to more intense farming—resulting in overcultivation, soil erosion, and land degradation. These in turn further undermine agricultural productivity and environmental sustainability. The evidence presented in this report addresses this situation and offers guidance to policy makers on how to increase agricultural productivity and national economic growth, strengthen food security, and support poverty reduction across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Buehren, N.; Goldstein, M.; Gulati, K.; Kirkwood, D.; Slavchevska, V.; Smith, D.; Torkelsson, A.; Westman, M. The cost of the gender gap in agricultural productivity in Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda. UN Women/UNDP/UNEP/World Bank Group, (2015) 42 pp.