Women are key actors in rural development
Women in rural and agricultural settings are often at a disadvantage to men, even though they account for at least half of the actors concerned (sometimes more where male migration is high) and make an invaluable contribution at many levels. They constitute a considerable agricultural and artisanal workforce – producing, processing and selling produce in rural and urban markets; and women in West Africa are also expected to cover the household’s health and educational costs and provide the ingredients for their daily meals.
Yet little value is placed on women’s work or their economic and domestic responsibilities. Their low social status excludes them from most local decision-making bodies and prevents them from accessing resources, information or training, and many development projects further marginalize women by only working with men. In this context, strengthening women’s capacities will be a determining factor in the economic, social and political future of societies in developing countries.