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UN Declares 2026 as International Year of the Woman Farmer

The International Year of the Woman Farmer celebrates the crucial role of women in global agriculture while raising awareness of the challenges they face, from property rights to access to markets.

Saurabh Shukla
UN to Declare 2026 as International Year of the Woman Farmer (Photo Source: UNDP)
UN to Declare 2026 as International Year of the Woman Farmer (Photo Source: UNDP)

The UN General Assembly has declared 2026 to be the International Year of Women Farmers. Spearheaded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and supported by over 100 co-sponsors, this resolution highlights the global recognition of the crucial role played by women in the agricultural sector worldwide.

Women play a central role in global food production, contributing to approximately half of the world's food output. Remarkably, in many countries, they are responsible for producing between 60 and 80 percent of the food supply. Despite their significant contributions, women worldwide experience higher rates of food insecurity compared to men.

The purpose of this observance is to highlight the vital roles that women play in the production of food and agriculture worldwide. It seeks to raise awareness of the unique challenges faced by women in agriculture, catalyze actionable solutions to address these challenges, and align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those pertaining to gender equity, food security, and poverty alleviation.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) welcomes the resolution adopted on May 2, 2024, by the United Nations General Assembly. This resolution invites FAO, in collaboration with other UN Rome-based Agencies, to facilitate the implementation and observance of the International Year of the Woman Farmer.

The International Year of the Woman Farmer 2026 is poised to serve as a crucial platform for the formulation of effective policies and actions to dismantle barriers and challenges faced by women farmers globally. Additionally, it seeks to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women across the agricultural spectrum.

According to a report by FAO titled "The Status of Women in Agrifood Systems”, despite constituting 39% of the global agricultural labor force, women encounter discrimination. They face with obstacles such as limited land and livestock ownership, restricted access to quality employment opportunities, unequal pay, and marginalization in decision-making processes.

Another recent report, also by FAO and titled "The Unjust Climate," highlights the disproportionate impact of climate change on vulnerable groups, including women in rural areas.

For instance, the report reveals that a mere 1°C increase in long-term average temperatures results in a 34% reduction in the total incomes of female-headed households compared to male-headed households.

The International Year of the Woman Farmer seeks to draw attention to the numerous obstacles faced by women in agriculture while also illuminating their vital role in the field. These challenges include limited property rights and insecure land tenure, restricted access to credit and markets, and insufficient technical and educational support. Furthermore, the initiative will underscore the importance of women assuming leadership positions within the agricultural sector to ensure their representation in decision-making processes at all levels.

Through collaborative efforts among Member States, UN entities, civil society, academia, the private sector, Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and individuals, the Year aims to raise awareness, implement concrete actions, and pave the way for more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable agrifood systems.

The announcement of 2026 as the International Year of the Woman Farmer marks a critical turning point in the worldwide movement toward agricultural development and gender equality. It highlights the importance of recognising, supporting and enhancing the role of women in ensuring food security, promoting economic prosperity and advancing sustainable development worldwide.

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