Rural Women and Breaking the “Invisibility Cloak” of Women Farmers in the Philippines

*This is an excerpt from PKKK’s Rural Women Status Report on CEDAW 2011.


The United Nations cited the important roles of rural women in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and reducing poverty in their communities. Rural women represent 70 percent of the agricultural workforce, comprising 43 percent of agricultural workers worldwide. The Food and Agriculture estimated that if rural women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20–30 percent, lifting 100-150 million out of hunger. Furthermore, equal access to resources will raise total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5–4 percent, thereby contributing to both food security and economic growth.

CSI research shows that women in agriculture spend as much as eight to eleven hours a day in productive and reproductive work—i.e. acquiring capital for farming (usually through credit), carrying out planting activities, marketing the primary crop and backyard produce, and providing for their household’s daily survival needs. They spend from one to six hours daily for domestic work, which includes activities like preparing farm tools and food for farm laborers, fetching water, gardening, foraging, wood gathering, raising poultry and livestock, and other livelihood activities. During the off-season, the women in agriculture spend more time in domestic chores, as well as augmenting cash income and ensuring food for their households.

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