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UN Women Policy Briefs

The UN Women policy brief series synthesizes research findings, analysis and policy recommendations on key policy areas around gender equality and women’s rights in an accessible format. The series aims to bridge the research and policy divide by identifying issues that require urgent policy attention and propose a set of suitable measures to address them. The series is a joint effort of UN Women’s Policy Division, coordinated by the Research and Data Section. To ensure the quality and relevance of the content, each brief undergoes a rigorous internal and external peer review process. These concise and relevant policy-oriented documents are useful resources for gender equality advocates, civil society and other policy actors working to achieve gender equality and women’s rights.

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The Gender Gap in Agricultural Productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa

Causes, Costs and Solutions

Across sub-Saharan Africa, the agricultural sector remains critical to local and regional economies. It is the basis for food security and an important source of employment, particularly for women. Yet, studies consistently find that female farmers have lower rates of agricultural productivity than male farmers. Based on original research in five countries (Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and United Republic of Tanzania), this policy brief shows that gender gaps in agricultural productivity do not arise because women are less efficient farmers but because they experience inequitable access to agricultural inputs, including family labour, high-yield crops, pesticides and fertilizer. Equalizing women’s access to agricultural inputs, including time-saving equipment, and increasing the return to these inputs is therefore critical to close gender gaps in agricultural productivity. It also promises to yield important economic and social gains. Across the five countries, it could raise crop production by up to 19 per cent, boost agricultural and overall GDP and lift hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty.

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