ActionAid is a global movement of people working together to further human rights and defeat poverty for all.

Who are the women in rural Brazil?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 - 21:29

 About 16% of Brazilian population lives in rural areas. This number leads to an increasingly urban Brazil. At the same time, if we analyze data from the national program “Brazil Without Poverty’ we identify that almost 50% of the 16 million Brazilians living in extreme poverty are located in these rural areas. Thus, ActionAid in Brazil, as an anti-poverty organization, takes into account that overcome inequalities in the countrified is essential. Beyond many types of inequalities, the one based on gender mark very strongly the Brazilian countryside.

Who are these women?  They are responsible for the reproductive unpaid care work, with low access to health services, often in situations of violence, receiving less than their husbands. They have long working hours, not recognized either by their family and community.

Despite recent advances, especially in the last nine years, a number of issues still affect the lives of rural women. Data from 2009, indicate that 47.9 per cent of rural population is female, in a country where the majority are women. In addition, from 2006 to 2009 the number of women employed in agriculture decreased by 15%, while the number of men was 6%. This exemplifies how rural areas often do not offer women decent conditions for your life.

These women still suffer in their lives our sexist and patriarchal culture in many ways. Through the project Women and Agroecology, ActionAid Brazil, and the National Network of Agroecology made ​​a record of a series of agro-ecological experiences led by rural women. In these projects, we could identify several ways in which discrimination and violence against women is expressed.

Women often reported that their husbands/fathers prevented them from attending meetings of the communities, limiting their right to political participation. It was also identified several cases where, in the family, the woman suggested new ways of producing, more eco-friendly tools, but their husbands prevented them to do it, preferring to keep their traditional crops more dependent on agricultural inputs such as agrochemicals.

Through our work, we are increasingly convinced that the role played by women should be visualized and valued. According to 2009 data, almost 47% of employed women work for the production of food consumed by their own families. Achieving that autonomy is a very important strategy in our work to eradicate poverty and achieve food security.

In fact, decade after decade, Brazil has an urban face. But the strategic role led by family farming in Brazil is undeniable. Representing only 24.3% of the total area of farms, there are 84.4% for the establishment of family farms accounting for 75% of employed persons in agriculture and the production of about 70% of products consumed in Brazil. And in agriculture, women play a central role and has been combating sexism and participating more and more on building a fairer countrified in the relations between men and women and between them with nature.