There are still strong gender differences in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and marine activities in terms of responsibilities, ownership and decision-making. […] Also, there is scope to investigate the influence of societal changes on diet and the selection of healthy food options. For example, in the traditional matriarchal household, women had a strong influence on food choices. However there have been many changes in society and many factors influence food choice, such as changes in family structures, fewer opportunities for younger and older generations to interact, social media, advertising, television and so on. […] Additionally, integrating sex analysis into the field of nutrigenomics could provide a better understanding of how diet affects the metabolism and well-being of women and men at the genetic, molecular and cellular level, and studies designed to investigate female and male (social and biological) responses to specific diets need to include both women and men.1

The role of women in food security

Approximately 3.1 billion people, or 45% of the global population, live in rural areas. Of these, around 2.5 billion depend on agriculture as their principal means of subsistence. A portion of this figure is made up of peasant women, specifically 500 million, who do not own any land and receive barely 5% of the agricultural resources. The promoting of investment and the restructuring of the agricultural sector in developing countries represent the most effective way to increase productivity and stimulate their economic growth. […] closing the gender gap which exists in the rural sector would certainly be one of the most effective ways to achieve such an increase in productivity. Women who live in rural areas represent 25% of the world’s population and constitute an average of 43% of the workforce in developing countries. And it is precisely in such rural areas where the differences and difficulties suffered by women and girls are most acute. Yet similar inequalities also exist closer to home, in Europe. A few statistics will suffice to prove this point: more than 80% of women living in the countryside collaborate with or assist their husbands, 28.7% of agricultural workers are women and agricultural holdings run by women are 40% smaller than those run by men.

Source: Hidalgo García, María del Mar. 2013. The role of women in food security. In: Spanish Institute for Strategic Studies (IEEE) Food Security and Global Security (pp.82-96). Spanish Ministry of Defence (Strategic Dossier 161-B). (p.83)


  • 1. Source: H2020-AG-GENDER (2015), pp. 5-6