Gender Mainstreaming in Agricultural Supply Chains Can Accelerate Good Growth

Women play an important and valuable, but often invisible, role in agriculture. The persistence of their invisibility reflects the reality that gendered roles are often or inconsistently unrecognized, valued and reflected in decision-making. This costs individuals, households and CSCs. This reality is also unjust. Women’s input and contribution to agriculture as well as the burdens they bear from unsustainability are not matched by an equal share of resources or influence on how the sector is run. Beef, soy and palm oil supply chains deserve special attention. They are economically powerful, drive high rates of deforestation (along with wood, they are the major contributors to tropical deforestation) and affect the lives and incomes of millions of smallholder farmers and workers including women. Yet, limited attention is paid to the fact that women and men do not consume commodities equitably and that there can be significant differences between women of different nationalities, race, ethnicity and class in terms of access to commodities or the problems that unsustainable commodities produce.

Gender-lens investing is trending as a space and opportunity for making finance a tool for social change though finding instruments that focus on gender and the environment at the same time is still a challenge. Transactions address the role that financing can play along the supply chain (from producers to retailers) in fostering sustainable production. Involving banks and other financial actors, transactions can take the form of accessible finance or financial products such as bonds, impact investment structures, subsidies and co-financing or co-investment approaches as well as investment standards

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