Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment

Published: August 2012

The preparation of a gender policy was recommended by the 2010 corporate-level evaluation of IFAD's performance with regard to gender equality and women's empowerment. The policy will reinforce IFAD's position as a leader in promoting gender equality and women's empowerment in agricultural and rural development. It builds on IFAD's experience and achievements in field operations and in the broader policy arena in promoting gender equality and women's empowerment. The policy will provide IFAD with strategic guidance in systematizing, intensifying and scaling up its efforts to close gender gaps and improve the economic and social status of rural women in rapidly changing rural environments.

Key Findings

  • Evidence demonstrates that, in economies where gender equality is greater in terms of both opportunities and benefits, there is not only higher economic growth but also a better quality of life.
  • Addressing gender inequalities and empowering women are vital to meeting the challenge of improving food and nutrition security, and enabling poor rural people to overcome poverty.
  • Agricultural growth is enhanced if both women and men are enabled to participate fully as economic actors.
  • Development programmes are more relevant and sustainable if both women and men are able to participate in rural institutions and express their own needs and priorities in decision-making forums.
  • Despite increasing evidence that women's improved capabilities and welfare are strongly linked to poverty reduction improvements - such as lower infant mortality and child malnutrition -- gender inequalities continue to be inordinately large in the developing world.
  • At present, with few exceptions, rural women fare worse than rural men, and urban women and men, against every Millennium Development Goal indicator for which data are available.
  • If women had equal access to productive inputs, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that yields from women's farms would increase by 20-30 per cent and total agricultural output by 2.5-4.0 per cent in developing countries. In effect, this would reduce the number of hungry people globally by 12-17 per cent, or 100 million to 150 million people.

Populations Poor, Rural, Women

Complementary Outcomes Women's Rights

Industries Agriculture/Food Processing

Publishers International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)