We're four months into the "International Year of Family Farming," and I thought it would be a good time to pause and reflect on the year's significance. The United Nations bestowed 2014 with this name in an effort to highlight the potential that farming families around the world have to eradicate hunger, preserve natural resources, and promote sustainable development. With 842 million hungry people in the world, 98 percent of whom come from developing countries, we must leave no stone unturned when it comes to finding a solution to ending world hunger. And as it turns out, one important solution lies in the hands of women.
The power of women
The World Food Programme reports that if women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry people in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million. Now, this is an impressive stat and there's no denying that women are very powerful individuals. In the United States alone, women's participation in the labor force accounted for 57.7 percent of the working age (16 years of age and older) in 2012 and today women are leading major corporations, such as Yahoo!, IBM, and PepsiCo. Furthermore, women have traditionally been the key decision-makers in the home when it comes to food, family, health, and shelter. Empowering women in agriculture now is a vital next step to improving the livelihood of future generations.1