What is the actual impact of an intensified development focus on rural women? It was that question which drove Sonia Akter, assistant dean of research with Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, to explore whether women’s empowerment leads to better agricultural and farming technology adoption in Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Philippines, and Vietnam, such as adopting high yield rice varieties.

The level of empowerment of women in 12,000 farming households was determined on a scale of zero to 100 based on five domains associated with the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index — production, income, resources, time, and leadership.

At the 2018 Australasia Agricultural and Resource Economic Society conference, held in Adelaide last month, Akter presenting findings providing scientific evidence that a focus on empowering women leads to more progressive farmers and greater economic and social opportunities for households ...

The study was not only able to directly link empowerment with agricultural and household decision-making, but the ability for empowered women to influence the decision to purchase varieties of seed that would lead to higher yield, increasing household income.

The factors leading to empowerment within a household were not studied — purely the end result. But a key in enabling women to choose innovative approaches in agriculture was identified through factors considered “indirect benefits” within the research. Empowered women had access to more information, including technology, enabling them to make a more informed decision on what should happen in the field to improve yield and their economic outcome.

Read the full article about empowering women through innovative agriculture practices by Lisa Cornish at Devex International Development