Women’s empowerment, gender equality, climate change, sustainable agriculture, and the future of our food systems are topics that deserve the increasing academic and media attention they are increasingly receiving. For academics, ethical business entrepreneurs and development professionals this means a constant growth of new resources to track impact and share political, economic, and educational strategies that bring together our common goals. A new collaboration between “Feed the Future,” the US Government’s Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative, USAID, the International Food Policy Research Institute, and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative has announced a new index that will add to the resources publicly available.
The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) claims to track women’s engagement in agriculture in five areas, including relative empowerment to men in their households and communities:
- Time Use
The case studies for the base-line survey work for the index were conducted in Bangladesh, Guatemala and Uganda, and the brochure claims that 19 countries will initially be included in the index. Although it is great to see resources directed toward understanding and improving the role of Women in Agriculture by these development organizations, this is by no means a strictly developing world issue. As organizations such as the Women’s Food and Agriculture Network in the US and the Women’s Food and Farming Union in the UK demonstrate, women have been and remain a vital force in the success of food production around the world, and deserve recognition and equal resources for their work. The increasing attention on the role of women in agriculture will hopefully expand to include a look at the empowerment struggles of women world-wide as stewards of the land and essential contributors to the future of our food.