This year, International Women’s Day focuses on the changing world of work, and women’s role in it. At COSA, we see women driving agricultural development in many emerging economies, in the very places we work.
Empowering women in agriculture is essential because, as COSA Measurement Systems Manager Jessica Mullan explains, “Women make up a substantial part of the world’s agricultural labor force and play an important role in food production in most developing countries. Empowering women can unleash the potential of small-scale farming by enhancing productivity and economic growth and contributing to improved food security for families and communities.”
At COSA, we have developed indicators that enable us to understand the role of gender in agricultural systems. Our gender indicators assess women’s participation in producer organizations, women’s decision-making roles in farm management, and how gender affects the price women receive for the goods they produce.
And we’re not the only ones quantifying women’s contributions to agriculture. The International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) has been hard at work collecting estimates of the number of women working in coffee from government statistics and reports from coffee-producing countries around the world. The IWCA Research Alliance recently released estimates of the number of women coffee producers in four countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Rwanda). Visit IWCA’s blog to view the numbers and an explanation of how such deceptively simple estimates are made.
With our partners, we look forward to furthering the measurement and understanding of women in agricultural development. We are eager to do our part to contribute to economic, social, and political parity for women.