This publication supports the EU's 2015 framework for addressing gender equality in EU External Relations, the Gender Action Plan 2016–2020 (GAP II). GAP II responds to SDG 5, which is dedicated to achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls. The framework calls for a transformative approach, which seeks not only to improve women’s access to resources, but also to guarantee their equal rights. At the same time, this guide is reflective of the EU's priority of increasing food and nutrition security to achieve SDG 2 (zero hunger).
Empowering rural women is crucial for the EU's aim of acheiving SDG 2. The multiple and complex roles and responsibilities that rural women undertake make them key actors in the production, processing, and marketing of food, and in preparing food for household consumption and maintaining household nutrition security. Therefore, women have great potential to increase productivity, raise incomes, and diversify their livelihoods in times of stress. However, rural women face many challenges in meeting their agricultural productivity potential thus, lowering their ability to obtain food and nutrition security for their families. These barriers are rooted in discriminatory social norms, found in attitudes, behaviours, policies and laws, that hinder the empowerment of women.
The guide provides a brief overview of the key opportunities and challenges that rural women face and the steps needed to integrate gender dimensions into the design of an investment.