Cultivating rural women’s economic empowerment (Asia)

New research from ActionAid’s POWER project explores the interlinkages between Unpaid Care Work, agroecology, and violence against women and girls.

Executive summary

Rural women remain at the margins of development, particularly regarding access to productive resources, decent work and their disproportionate burden of Unpaid Care Work.
ActionAid research found that, in Bangladesh, women complete nearly eight hours of Unpaid Care Work each day (nearly three times what men do), while in Pakistan women spend over 10 hours daily on Unpaid Care Work.
Adverse impacts of climate change and shocks such as flooding and landslides affect rural women disproportionately to men as they are often the most vulnerable and poor in society. This is largely due to social inequalities such as the unequal burden of Unpaid Care Work, unequal legal rights, unequal political participation, and lesser access to income, services and education.
Agroecological approaches, such as ActionAid’s Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture (CRSA) approach, enhance farm system’s resilience to climate change and reduce adverse effects of climate disasters. The study found that 50% of women using agro-ecological approaches reported overall increase in crop yields.
There is also evidence from this research that women’s capacity to generate income leads to greater valuation within society and their self-confidence grows; in turn, violence against women is likely to diminish.
The report concludes by making recommendations to policy makers and practitioners.