Case Study

Applying a Gender Lens to Agriculture: Farmers, Leaders, and Hidden Influencers in the Rural Economy

Discussing the role of women engaged in agriculture as agents of change
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This brief shares Root Capital’s experience of applying a gender lens to smallholder agricultural finance. The organization focuses on agricultural enterprises as change agents in rural communities and provides loans and financial management training to such enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. The brief attempts to provide a better understanding of the areas in which the organization supports women and also identifies new areas for potential impact for further economic empowerment of women. It also encourages other investors and development practitioners to expand their gender lens recognizing the need to unlock women’s potential across the entire continuum to realize the full benefits to society. The brief covers the following sections in detail:

  • Root Capital’s role in providing rural and agricultural finance with a focus on its Women in Agriculture Initiative;
  • Role of women in small and growing agricultural enterprises as farmers, agro-processing employees, leaders and entrepreneurs, and hidden influencers;
  • Discussion on what makes an agricultural enterprise gender inclusive with a focus on quantifiable metrics that can be used to assess the impact an organization is creating for women;
  • Areas for further research such as the role of women as agro-dealers and lead farmers.