Women family farmers for the sustainability of food systems and the planet

Women family farmers for the sustainability of food systems and the planet

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Rural women are the heart of the countryside and agriculture, playing a key role in food systems, agrobiodiversity conservation, poverty eradication and achieving the SDGs.

On International Women’s Day, we commemorate the achievements of women family farmers, rural women and indigenous women. Still, we must remember the challenges that remain to be addressed in order to move towards more just and equitable societies that recognise the important role of rural women in the sustainability of food systems and the planet.

Women family farmers face many challenges in their lives. Despite producing more than half of the food consumed globally, the unequal conditions they face in terms of access to productive resources, services and opportunities make them more vulnerable to hunger, poverty and the effects of climate change.

Under this year’s slogan #RuralWomenForSustainability, this March 8th, we are joining the struggle of women family farmers, recalling their fundamental role in agricultural production, agrobiodiversity conservation, and the defence of natural resources and ancestral practices.

It is necessary to ensure women’s leadership in public policy design processes by guaranteeing that specific measures are implemented to redress existing inequalities and imbalances. Women are agents of change, and it is essential to visibilize and recognize their role, as this is the only way to bring about social, economic and cultural change in family farming.

The WRF and its partner organisations work to promote the participation and leadership of women family farmers in public policy design processes, strengthening their capacities and creating spaces for the exchange of empowerment experiences that serve to unleash their full potential in order to continue advocating for the sustainability of food systems and the planet.

The Pillar 3 of the United Nations Decade of Family Farming, in its Action Plan, aims “to promote gender equity in family farming and the leadership role of rural women“, and sets the course for joint actions that contribute to developing effective tools and measures for the economic, social and political empowerment of rural women.

In August 2023, the 2nd International Meeting of Rural Women will be held in Brasilia in the framework of the 7th Marcha das Margaridas. It is an event that will bring together women family farmers from all latitudes with the same purpose: to continue working together for policy frameworks, mechanisms and incentives to unlock their enormous potential towards achieving sustainable, resilient, inclusive and viable food systems.


Cooperativism can play a catalytic role in the empowerment and resilience of rural women. Organising in cooperatives and/or associations offers solutions to generate income, access markets, improve production conditions and fight poverty.

Cooperativism as a response to the challenges faced by women farmers improves access to markets, reduces risk through diversification and financing, strengthens capacities, improves negotiation skills and fosters women’s participation in all decision-making processes.

More info:

– Women in the UN Decade of Family Farming https://www.familyfarmingcampaign.org/en/mujeres/

– Women in the AgriCOOPDS Initiative: https://www.agricoopds.org/en/mujeres/