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Story Others March 08, 2024

Celebrating International Women's Day for women in agriculture

On International Women's Day, we recognize the significant role of women in agriculture, and their contribution to the global economy and food security. From sowing seeds to managing agribusinesses, women of every background can be found throughout the industry. Despite their many contributions and achievements, women in agriculture face numerous challenges. Many women encounter limited access to land, credit, and technology. With that said, there are passionate individuals and dedicated organizations around the world that aim to resolve some of these issues.

In addition to supporting women farmers in actionable ways year-round, International Women’s Day is an occasion to educate ourselves about the challenges they face and how we can support them. On this holiday, we’ll look at how women farmers are making strides in different regions around the world—while recognizing the ongoing challenges and work that is yet to be done.

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Listening to women farmers to instigate change in Germany

There are many stories and case studies about pioneering farmers in Europe, a region with a rich agricultural history. Some women lead sustainable permaculture farms while others develop innovative agricultural technologies in the lab. The European Union plays a significant role in shaping agricultural policy across the continent and the EU’s rural development fund supports local communities and innovation in rural territories. Agritechnica, a German trade show that TYM participates in annually, has a special Women in Ag award that’s presented each year in various categories including farming, research, and education.

However, attracting and nurturing the next generation of women farmers remains a challenge in Europe where 42% of women working in agriculture are over the age of 65. To find solutions, researchers in Germany started asking questions. Their approach was straightforward yet effective: directly engaging with women in agriculture. Supported by funding from the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, they conducted a comprehensive nation-wide study, surveying and interviewing over 7,000 women farmers. This initiative aimed to deeply understand their lives and livelihoods from a personal perspective. Listening to their stories first-hand provided invaluable insights into their joys, challenges, and uncertainties. This crucial step was instrumental in formulating actionable recommendations that will inform policies that pave the way for sustainable progress for women in agriculture.

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Overcoming challenges to cultivate resilience in the Philippines

In many parts of Asia, women have been integral to agriculture, yet often lack formal recognition or rights. In countries like the Philippines, organizations like AGREA are making a difference. Founded in 2014, the foundation aims to create sustainable and inclusive agricultural systems, with an emphasis on empowering women farmers through education and community development projects. AGREA gained international acclaim for its impactful work, particularly for initiatives during stringent COVID-19 lockdowns that helped sustain livelihoods and ensured food security.

In the greater South and Southeast Asia, the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) also plays a key role in supporting women in farming. To combat poverty and hunger among people that depend on rice-based agri-food systems, the IRRI funds research and development programs aimed at increasing productivity, sustainability, and gender equality in rice farming.

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Breaking barriers for equality in North America

In the United States, women farmers have been making strides in breaking the traditional gender barriers in agriculture. Women-led community farms, like Soul Fire Farm in New York, are revolutionizing farming with a focus on racial and gender equality. Soul Fire Farm is not just a farming operation, but a center for teaching agroecology, farming, and social justice to people of color, including women.

The government is taking an active part in the change as well. Programs such as the USDA's Women in Agriculture Mentoring Network offer support and resources to women farmers, promoting their participation and leadership in the sector. These initiatives are crucial in a country where women are increasingly taking on roles as farm operators. As TYM celebrates the 20th anniversary of our entry into the North American market, we continue to seek out opportunities to engage with our local communities and support women farmers in the region.


Championing women farmers with TYM

All across the globe, it’s clear that empowering women in agriculture is critical for achieving food security and sustainable development goals. To make that possible, continued advocacy for gender equality, along with inclusive policies and programs, is essential. Encouraging the participation of young women in agriculture through education, training, and mentorship can also help nurture a resilient and diverse industry.

As we commemorate International Women's Day, TYM recognizes the invaluable contributions of women in agriculture and has pledged to promote diversity within our organization. We actively support women and marginalized agricultural workers through our tractor donation program and our efforts to create more job opportunities for seniors, among other initiatives. TYM continues to pave the way for a more equitable and sustainable agricultural sector for all. To find out more about our initiatives and goals for diversity and social equality, read about our sustainability management on the TYM website.

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