Gender Equity

Agricultural enterprises can help level the playing field for rural women, boosting their economic opportunities and agency.

The Challenge

Women are the backbone of the agricultural sector. Yet numerous barriers—educational, economic, and social—prevent them from accessing vital resources and opportunities. This inequity doesn't just impact women; it can have damaging consequences for rural economies as a whole.

The good news is that by investing in rural women, we can increase agricultural productivity, reduce poverty and hunger, and promote economic growth. Closing the gender gap would not only help women prosper, it would help their families and communities thrive.

Our Approach

Seek out and unlock potential of businesses committed to gender equity.

Build women's financial and agricultural knowledge so they can thrive, personally and professionally.

Encourage and support women-led design of new products and services that benefit the whole community.

Demonstrate a model for investing in women in agriculture to help catalyze gender-smart policies and practices.

Our Impact

$80.5M

in loans to gender-inclusive and women-led businesses in 2021.

1338

women who received training to build their professional skills in 2021.

844

additional jobs for women supported by Root Capital in 2021.

554K

women farmers reached since 2012.


Stories of Impact


Women in Agriculture Initiative: 2021 Annual Report

Over the past 10 years, Root Capital's Women in Agriculture Initiative has helped expand gender equity in hundreds of rural communities around the world. In 2021, we reached new heights alongside women farmers, agricultural employees, and entrepreneurs.

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A woman coffee farmer in bright clothes stands in a forest and smiles at the camera. Women in Agriculture Initiative 2021 Mid-year Update

In the first half of 2021, Root Capital continued to invest in the success of women farmers, employees, and entrepreneurs through our Women in Agriculture Initiative. Our 2021 Mid-year Update provides an update on our progress this year, and our cumulative progress since the initiative's launch in 2012.

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BUSINESS FIGHTS POVERTY — Leveraging the Power of Small Agricultural Businesses to Address Climate Change and Gender Inequity

In 2019, Root Capital piloted an innovative approach to strengthening women’s inclusion and climate resilience, in partnership with coffee cooperatives in Mexico and Central America. The evaluation uncovered key lessons for philanthropic and business partners. View Article

Root Capital Announces New Initiative to Strengthen Gender Lens Investing in Agriculture

Take a look around any farming community and you’ll see countless hardworking women producing the food and other commodities that nourish our world. Women plant and tend crops, collect the harvest when it’s ready, work in sorting and processing facilities, oversee finances, manage business operations, train farmers and employees, and own rural enterprises. They constitute 43% of the agricultural workforce…

5 Tips for Adopting a Gender Lens Investing Strategy

Gender lens investing is an increasingly popular approach for impact-focused investors. In just the last few years, the number of firms investing with a gender lens has exploded, and these firms have gone from raising $1.1 billion in capital in 2017 to $4.8 billion in 2019. On top of that, the global 2X Challenge…

Pursuing Gender Equality Through Investment in Rural Communities—Root Capital Case Study

This report documents Root Capital’s gender lens investing journey, capturing the organization’s goals and motivations, path toward realizing those goals, challenges faced, results of the work, factors behind success, and key learning.

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Building the Capacity for Small and Growing Businesses to Improve the Climate Resilience of Women Farmers

Recognizing the impact of climate change on women and the important role of women in mitigating its effects, in 2019 Root Capital launched its first-ever climate resilience-focused Gender Equity Grants (GEGs) in Mexico and Central America. This report, prepared by Value for Women, examines the effectiveness and relative impact of this intervention. It also recommends best practices for investors, donors, and other organizations working to promote rural women’s climate resilience through agricultural enterprises.

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IN PHOTOS: Leveling the Playing Field for Women in Agriculture

Women are the backbone of the agricultural sector, composing 43% of the labor force globally and up to 80% in certain countries. But, despite their vital role, most women don’t benefit from their labor at an equal level to men. Numerous barriers—educational, economic, and social—prevent them from accessing vital resources and opportunities. But this inequity doesn’t just impact women. Gender…

Women in Agriculture Initiative: 2020 Annual Report

At Root Capital, we believe that agricultural enterprises are one of the most effective platforms for delivering services and opportunities to rural women. This report highlights our impact in 2020, during which we supported women farmers, employees, and entrepreneurs as they promoted gender inclusion and equity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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This All-Women Cooperative is Feeding Hundreds During the Pandemic

Since 2007, the all-women AMPROCAL coffee cooperative in Ocotepeque, Honduras has worked hard to connect farmers with higher prices for their coffee on the international market. Starting with just eight members, they’ve grown to over 150 today. That means they’re able to improve livelihoods and grow inclusion for more farmers across the region. For the last four years, Root Capital…