I am blessed I was born in the United States. I could have been born in a country where women are sexually mutilated, forced to marry cruel men, not allowed to work, or dying of starvation. A email I received earlier today got my attention: “Women in Africa, who do up to 80 percent of all farm work on the continent, get as little as 5 percent of available support, such as tools, advice, seeds and training.”
Essentially, they are slaves. Self Help Africa, a development agency, launched a Change Her Life campaign that focuses on the “raw deal” for women in Africa. It calls on the public to sign a petition that urges Western governments to guarantee women a specific portion of international agricultural aid. “This is not about asking for more money,” said Martha Hourican, director of development of Self Help Africa. “It’s about doing more with the money we have. These are tough budgetary times, so we want aid to be more effective and this is a clear way to achieve that.” Studies have shown that if African women farmers receive the same support as their male counterparts, food production increases by 20 percent, according to the press release from Self Help Africa.
“There is no other section of society on earth which is so marginalized, yet so productive,” Ms. Hourican said. “Governments in the West spend hundreds of millions of Euro each year on trying to develop agriculture throughout Africa. The women who actually work the fields are missing out on this support.”