Who works and who owns the land?
Poverty has a woman’s face. In Africa women maintain 90% of the informal economy and produce 80% of foodstuffs, but are over-represented among the poor. Specifically in Benin, with a rural population of 60%, the rates of involvement in the workforce are very similar for women (70%) and men (73%). Natural disasters, armed conflict and economic crises frequently break the hazy limit between decent subsistence and poverty.
Food security in the home is in the hands of women, who are often unable to guarantee it due to a mix of poverty, subsistence agriculture and gender discrimination. Gender discrimination prevents them from being owners of the land they work: without land to offer as security, women have no access to credit and without credit they cannot buy basic goods (seeds, farm tools or fertilisers), nor invest in irrigation, all of which reduces their chances of maintaining the food security for their family group.
Photo, Ramón Herrera