Women entrepreneurs – key players in ACP agribusiness development

Women entrepreneurs – key players in ACP agribusiness development

Research has found strong reasons to emphasise women’s economic empowerment in developing programs: firstly, economic empowerment is one of the most powerful routes for women to achieve their potential and advance their rights; secondly, since women make up the majority of the world’s poor, meeting poverty-reduction goals requires addressing women and their economic empowerment; thirdly, discrimination against women is economically inefficient and national economies lose out when a substantial part of the population cannot complete equitably or realise its full potential; moreover, working with women makes good business sense: when women have the rights skills and opportunities, they can help business and markets grow; finally, women who are economically empowered contribute more to their families, societies and national economies. It has been shown that women invest extra income in their children, providing a route to sustainable development. Women make significant contributions to the rural economy in all regions of the world.

In developing countries, women make up on average about 40 percent of the labour force, ranging from 20 percent in Latin America to 50 percent or more in certain parts of Africa and Asia. Women’s role range from being cultivators on their own or others plots-as unpaid or paid workers, employers or employees-to being wage-labourers in on- and off-farm enterprises, alongside their key role as providers of unpaid care work in their households and communities. However, in many settings women face more constraints than men in accessing key productive resources such as land and to services such as credit, extension and social protection; they face wage discrimination in rural labour markets and often work without remuneration on family farms. This limits their capacity to contribute to agricultural production and take advantage of new opportunities.

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