MAIZE Recognizes the International Day of Rural Women

15 October 2014 marks the sixth celebration of the International Day of Rural Women, a United Nations (UN) day dedicated to recognizing “the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.” CIMMYT and the CGIAR Research Programs on MAIZE and WHEAT acknowledge the importance of understanding and recognizing the important role of women in agriculture, and is committed to the inclusion and participation of women – especially rural women – in its research and programs.

womenResearch shows that if women in agriculture were afforded the same rights and opportunities as men, they could increase their farm yields by an estimated 20 to 30 percent and feed up to 150 million more people worldwide. Lack of access to important yield-increasing inputs such as improved seed, fertilizers and equipment frequently limits the agricultural yields rural women are able to produce. “Women are a key part of the mainstream in agriculture, yet they face formidable obstacles,” said CIMMYT gender and development specialist Vongai Kandiwa during a seminar in Nairobi, Kenya. “By closing the gap in access to technology between men and women, we could increase productivity by 30 percent.” This advance would help to improve child survival and nutrition, as “women are the key to household food security.”