Women make up at least 43 percent of the agricultural workforce in developing countries, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Yet, women in rural and agricultural livelihoods consistently have less access than men to resources and opportunities.

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread, the virus disproportionately impacted women, whose care responsibilities increased as access to local markets decreased. Despite this, they’ve been ignored in nearly half of the COVID-19 relief plans analyzed in a recent report by CARE.

In a recent Food Talk Live interview, Dr. Maureen Miruka, Director for Gender, Youth & Livelihoods for CARE USA, tells Food Tank that women are farmers, innovators, and decision makers. But, “they still face social norms and barriers that prohibit them from fully expressing their leadership. So, we are here to say we should create the opportunities for women to play a role in [addressing] the COVID-19 crisis.”

This year, in honor of International Women’s Day, Food Tank is celebrating 25 women who are working to close the gender gap and empower women in the food system.

  1. Mariana Estrada Avila and Teresa Lamas, Rome, Italy  The Global Campaign for the Empowerment of Indigenous Women for Zero Hunger seeks to create awareness around Indigenous women’s roles in the food system.
  2. Gabriella Lucas Deecke Querétaro, Mexico Gabriella Lucas Deecke founded CIASPE Mexico, a non-governmental organization that works with women in rural Mexico to adopt more productive methods of growing their food to strengthen self-management, resilience, and community-level food sovereignty.
  3. Amira Jessica Diamond, California, United States Amira Jessica Diamond is the co-founder and executive director of Women’s Earth Alliance (WEA)—an alliance created by women for women— mobilizes women-led, grassroots solutions to strengthen communities and protect the environment.

Read the full article about women reimagining the food system by Carley DeMarco at Food Tank.