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Gender equality and women’s empowerment

Gender equality begins in the home

Encouraging rural families to work together in a way that benefits everyone

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Eight rural women who inspire us

In honour of International Women's Day 2016, IFAD is celebrating eight rural women who are transforming their own lives and those of their families and communities.

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Mobile legal Clinics

Knowledge of the law is empowering rural women in Burundi.

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Gender roles and livestock

Livestock ownership increases women's economic power and their role as income generators.

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Access to rural microfinance

Access to financial services improves livelihoods and foodsecurity for poor rural women and men.

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Gender equality is an essential component for sustainable economic development and empowering rural women is vital to enabling poor people to improve their livelihoods and overcome poverty. Over 70 per cent of the world’s poor people live in rural areas and most of rural women and men rely on agriculture. However, rural women have limited access to land, credit, information and technologies, and they face difficulties in terms of mobility and political participation. IFAD is addressing gender inequalities and discrimination by focusing on areas which can empower women economically and socially, including access to land, water, education, training, markets and financial services.

In focus


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Ten things to know about gender equality and rural poverty

  • Did you know that over 70 per cent of the world's poor people live in rural areas and most rural women and men rely on agriculture? Read more


  • Twenty thousand families in 13 districts of Uganda are now imagining their lives differently. By creating a shared vision, husbands and wives are not only finding ways to break out of their poverty, but they are discovering the value of equality in their homes.

  • The inclusion of women in decision-making on the remote island of Hunga, Kingdom of Tonga, leads to the development of large-scale infrastructure projects, such as a new wharf and paved roads they had never had before.

  • On the island of Zanzibar, the sea had always been a man's domain. But researcher Flower Ezekiel Msuya says things started to change when local women unleashed the commercial potential of seaweed.

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  • Maria Hartl
    Senior Technical Specialist, Gender and Social Equity
    Via Paolo di Dono, 44
    Rome, Italy
    Work: +39 06 54592246
  • Anja Rabezanahary
    Junior Professional Officer, Gender and Social Inclusion
    Via Paolo di Dono, 44
    Rome, Italy
    Work: +39 06 5459 2411