Cultivating Equality in the Food System – Danielle Nierenberg


Women are the world’s food producers, yet these working women are denied access to education, refused by banking and financial institutions, and ignored by extension agents and research organizations. Danielle Nierenberg, president and co-founder of Food Tank, explains that we need more investment in women farmers so that they can have the same access to resources as men. Moreover, we need to create awareness, in order to recognize, honor, and value the work of women in our food system, and to listen to women farmers’ wants and needs.

Publications & Reports


Cultivating Equality in the Food System- Danielle Nierenberg at #TEDxMan

TEDxManhattan Heroes: Danielle Nierenberg

To Watch: TEDxManhattan 2015

Here’s how to fix food in America

10 Highlights from TEDxManhattan 2015

TEDxManhattan, Part 1


  • FAO Report: Women in Agriculture, Food and Agriculture Organization, 2010-2011.
    This report from the FAO presents the facts and data in order to argue that addressing gender issues in agriculture and rural development has definitive economic benefits. The report analyzes the impact of women in agriculture and communities and the current state of the gender gap, while reviewing potential solutions to these issues.
  • Examining gender inequalities in land rights indicators in Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute, 2015.
    This paper analyzed the existing data on men’s and women’s land rights, and used it to assess the gaps in the land rights of women and men. The results indicate that there are sizable gender gaps in land ownership across countries, as well as the need for more data to accurately diagnose this issue.
  • Enhancing women’s assets to manage risk under climate change, International Food Policy Research Institute, 2014.
    This paper describes a project that aims to help poor women farmers and pastoralists in Africa south of the Sahara and South Asia, especially those in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, and Bangladesh, manage and mitigate risks under the threat of climate change.
  • Reducing the gender asset gap through agricultural development, International Food Policy Research Institute & International Livestock Research Institute , 2014.
    This technical resource guide explores the intersection of gender and assets within the context of agricultural interventions.
  • Feed the Future Report: Women and Agriculture, Feed the Future & U.S. Department of State, September 2011.
    This report discusses the critical importance of investing in women and agriculture, as well as highlighting ways in which Feed the Future, the U.S. global hunger and food security initiative, builds on best practices.


Discussion Questions

  • How do we educate the world about the importance of women farmers?
  • How can we connect women farmers in different parts of the world to increase their shared knowledge about farming, sustainability, and climate change?
  • What is the first step in ensuring that all women farmers have the same access to resources as men?

Additional Information

  • FoodTank’s “Women and Girls” Section compiles articles and blog posts related specifically to women in agriculture and food. This is a good place to stay apprised of news relating to gender equality in the food system.

Take Action

Things You Can Do

  • Celebrate International Women’s Day. March 8th is the day everyone around the world should be honoring the women that are working hard to ensure that their families and communities are healthy and safe.
  • Build a greater awareness of women food producers. A few great places to start are by recognizing organizations like The Korean Women Peasants Association, La Via Campesina, and the Self Employed Women’s Association. These organizations and many like them, are empowering women to build stable, nourished, and self sufficient lives for themselves and their families.
  • Join the Women, Food, and Agriculture Network. This network connects and empowers women farmers across the United States to build healthy, sustainable communities.
  • We need to ensure that all women have access to education, land, and financial resources. Get involved with organizations like Landesa which ensures the equitable access to land, secures property rights, and strengthens laws to help stop the discrimination against women.
  • We must listen to what women farmers want. Food Tank shares the stories of farmers all around the world and their innovative solutions for sustainable agriculture.


  • Women play an integral role in the developing world, and Oxfam Canada recognizes that by investing in women we invest in whole communities. Oxfam’s #Remember Her Rights Campaign celebrates the impact of women’s rights advocates around the world.
  • HeForShe is a solidarity movement that encourages all men to stand up for the equal rights of women to create a better world for all. This campaign is an initiative of UN Women, a UN organization dedicated to the empowerment and equality of women.


1% for Women

1% for Women promotes and works with businesses that commit 1% of their net profit to microcredit loans for women in agriculture around the world. Their work creates sustainable solutions that supports women farmers, breaking the cycle of poverty.


FANRPAN has a sweeping vision of a food secure Africa free of hunger and poverty. This organization works to achieve its goal through advocating for more effective food, agriculture and natural resources policies.


FarmHer is a project by Marji Guyler-Alaniz, who documents women in agriculture through photography in order to promote their cause.

Global Forum on Agricultural Research

Global Forum on Agricultural Research brings together those critical in the global agricultural research for development community to work coherently, inclusively and equitably, and works to center that research around the actual needs of low income farmers.

Korean Women Peasants Association

Korean Women Peasants Association seeks to improve the condition of women farmers and oppose the dominant agricultural policies in South Korea. In order to promote its mission, KWPA advocates for policies that support sustainable agriculture in South Korea.


Landesa works to secure land rights that allow poor agricultural producers to grow the food they need to support themselves and their families, facilitating economic growth, environmental sustainability and improving the status of women in communities. This project extends to more than 40 countries, including China, India and Africa.

Restaurant Opportunities Center United

Restaurant Opportunities Center United strives to improve wages and working conditions for the nation’s restaurant workforce.

Rural Women’s Front

Rural Women’s Front is a not-for-profit, non-partisan NGO dedicated to the empowerment of rural and impoverished women in Sri Lanka.

Self Employed Women’s Association

Self Employed Women’s Association is a trade union comprised of low income, self-employed women workers in India. SEWA’s primary goal is to obtain full employment for its members, which includes work security, income security, food security and social security.

The Female Farmer Project

The Female Farmer Project chronicles the rise of women in agriculture by recording and sharing the stories of female farmers who are leaders in the food movement.

Women for Women International

Women for Women International works directly with women in 8 countries to offer the tools they need to transition from poverty to economic stability and self-sufficiency. Women enrolled in this program receive life, business and vocational training, as well as educational tools and a monthly stipend.

Women, Food and Ag Network

Women, Food & Ag Network is a network of women in sustainable agriculture who seek to empower women to build healthier, more equitable and sustainable food systems. They do so by creating networks of support and access to resources for growers, consumers, workers and others interested in sustainability.

Women’s Earth Alliance

Women’s Earth Alliance (WEA) invests in grassroots women’s leadership to create solutions to our most critical ecological is – water, food, land, and climate. WEA believes that by investing in women farmers, they are investing in whole communities.

  • Danielle Nierenberg

    President Food Tank

    Danielle Nierenberg is President of Food Tank and an expert on sustainable agriculture and food issues. She has written extensively on gender … Read More