Women comprise the majority of Asia’s agricultural and food producers and play crucial roles in farming, fishing, livestock, forestry and biodiversity. They contribute tremendously through their toil, knowledge and their nurturing capacities. Yet, their roles and contributions remain invisible. Their work in the farm remains unrecognised and undervalued. In most parts of the Asia-Pacific region, they have very little rights or even lack access and control over land and resources. Women have limited access to credit, inputs, markets, research, information training and appropriate technologies.
Preference is also given to men in social, economic and political structures. Aggravating these are the multiple burdens of class, caste, patriarchy, fundamentalisms and gender-based violence and abuse that rural women face. These rooted structures of inequality and oppression constrain rural women and even exclude them from participating in decision-making processes, from homes to communities and formal mechanisms, resulting in them having little or no say in decisions that affect their lives and livelihoods. They are denied of their rights, as women, as mothers, as farmers, as agricultural workers.
PAN AP has always been guided on the belief that the empowerment of rural women lies in her capacity to make informed decisions with awareness of her rights. Given rural women’s critical roles in food security and agricultural development, PAN AP supports rural women to take on strong leadership roles to raise their voices from village to country and international levels. PAN AP facilitates <leadership building> of rural women to ensure their space in decision-making processes, be directly involved in various struggles, to strengthen their movements, and together with other marginalised sectors be able to assert their rights to food sovereignty, equality and social justice.