Rural girls and women are a quarter of the world’s population. It is no exaggeration to say that they are among the hardest working people on the planet.
Women in rural areas shoulder the burden of unpaid household labor, such as gathering water or fuel for cooking, preparing meals, and caring for children. They live in areas where land is the most fundamental asset and source of wealth, power, social status, and economic opportunity. Many work for hours as laborers on agricultural land, or gathering wood, water and fodder, yet few reap the reward of their sweat and toil.
Why? Because many of these same women live in places where their right to own or inherit land and property is restricted. In more than half the countries in the world, women encounter legal or customary barriers to their land and inheritance rights, deepening existing inequalities. The gender gap in land manifests itself in a stark reality – around the world, less than 15 percent of all landholders are women, despite the fact that women comprise 43 percent of the agricultural workforce in the developing world.