76 | IAASTD Synthesis Report

Figure SR-WA1. Counting women's labor.

     As a result of male out-migration and the development of labor intensive farming systems, the gender division in farm activities  has undergone important transformation and has tended to become more flexible. In some countries (e.g., in SSA) women are now in charge of tasks formerly performed only by men such as soil preparation, spraying and marketing. This requires women's access to additional skills and presents new risks (e.g., health risks related to the unregulated use of chemicals, especially pesticides) to girls and women.
     Rural-to-urban migration and out-migration of men and young adults (including in some cases young women), especially in CWANA, ESAP, LAC and SSA regions, has in­creased the number of female headed households and has shifted the mean ages of rural populations upwards, result­ing in considerable shrinkages in the rural labor force. In some cases, this has negatively affected agricultural produc­tion, food security, and service provision [Global Chapter 3]. As to decision-making, women in some cases have become empowered because of male out-migration: they manage budgets and their mobility is increased as they sometimes go to the market to sell their products, even if they still rely on male relatives for major decisions such as the sale of an animal (cow, veal, etc.) [CWANA Chapter 2; Global Chap­ter 6]. In Asia, SSA and LAC both internal and international migration by rural women seeking economic opportunities to escape poverty is on increase [ESAP Chapter 1].

Constraints, Challenges and Opportunities

The access of women to adequate land and land ownership continues to be limited due to legislation (e.g., Zimbabwe, Yemen) and sociocultural factors, e.g., Burundi where leg­islation has affirmed women's right to land but customary practices restrict women's ability to buy or inherit agricul-


tural land and resources [CWANA Chapter 1; SSA Chap­ter 2]. Agrarian reform programs tend to give title to men, especially in CWANA and LAC [CWANA Chapter 2; LAC Chapter 5]. In the majority of patrilineal societies, women's right to land expires automatically in the case of divorce or death of the husband [SSA Chapter 2]. In North Africa, inheritance law entitles women to half the amount endowed to men, and very often women forgo their right to land in favor of their brothers. Lack of control over and impaired entitlement to land often implies restricted access to loans and social security, limits autonomy and decision making power, and eventually curtails ability to achieve food securi­ty. A few countries have started recognizing the independent land rights of women (e.g., South Africa, Kenya) [Global Chapter 5; SSA Chapter 2]. The issue is the more urgent because market development rewards those who own the factors of production. Increased "opening toward the mar­ket" will not benefit men and women equally unless these institutional, legal and normative issues are appropriately and effectively addressed.
     Poor rural infrastructure such as the lack of clean water supply, electricity or fuel increases women's work load and limits their availability for professional training, childcare and income generation. The lack of access to storage facili­ties and roads contributes to high food costs and low selling prices. The trends towards economic and trade liberaliza­tion and privatization have led to the dismantling of many marketing services that were previously available to farm­ers. Women farmers have been severely hit by this loss. The decline in investment in rural infrastructure, such as roads that link rural areas to markets and limited access to ICTs, affects women's access to markets. Lack of access to mem­bership in marketing organizations limits women's ability to sell their produce.
     Women and girls involved in farm activities mostly in