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

$63M

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

150K

women who received training to build their professional skills.

541

additional jobs for women supported by Root Capital.

554K

women farmers reached since 2012.


Stories of Impact


Shalem Investments: Overcoming Barriers for Women Farmers in Kenya

As shifting weather patterns make it harder to grow crops, this Kenyan grain aggregator is ensuring women farmers can adapt and prosper. With rains less predictable and growing seasons in flux, an old agribusiness adage is increasing in relevance for enterprises that work with rural smallholders: What’s good for the farmer is good for the business.  When The Rain…

Gender Equity Grants: Evaluating Key Benefits for Businesses, Workers, and Farmers

Rural women often face gendered barriers that limit their ability to be productive, control assets and incomes, and benefit equitably from their hard work. In 2016, Root Capital began disbursing Gender Equity Grants to client agricultural businesses to implement strategies aimed at improving women’s overall quality of life and their representation in the business. In this summary, we present an assessment of these activities and the reported results.

Download Summary

In Rural Kenya, We Helped Businesses Invest in Women—Here’s What Happened

Driving along the winding dirt roads of Kenya’s central highlands, it doesn’t take long to spot scores of women farming in the mist. The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that women perform 75 to 89 percent of the country’s agricultural labor. Yet all too often, this labor goes unrecognized.

Transforming the Lives of Rural Women: Meet Phyllis

This profile is part of a series that captures how Root Capital’s Gender Equity Grants are transforming the lives of rural women. Read more here.

Transforming the Lives of Rural Women: Meet Rachel

This profile is part of a series that captures how Root Capital’s Gender Equity Grants are transforming the lives of rural women. Read more here.

Transforming the Lives of Rural Women: Meet Sylveria

This profile is part of a series that captures how Root Capital’s Gender Equity Grants are transforming the lives of rural women. Read more here.

Transforming the Lives of Rural Women: Meet Margaret

This profile is part of a series that captures how Root Capital’s Gender Equity Grants are transforming the lives of rural women. Read more here.

Transforming the Lives of Rural Women: Meet Filomena

This profile is part of a series that captures how Root Capital’s Gender Equity Grants are transforming the lives of rural women. Read more here.

Transforming the Lives of Rural Women: Meet David

This profile is part of a series that captures how Root Capital’s Gender Equity Grants are transforming the lives of rural women. Read more here.

Ketiara: Advancing Women’s Inclusion in Indonesia

In a conservative region of Indonesia, one woman is leading her cooperative through exponential growth. In the misty Gayo highlands of northern Sumatra, Ibu Rahmah is making her mark on Indonesia’s coffee industry. Twenty years ago, Rahmah began working as a small trader, purchasing a few pounds of hand-picked coffee cherries from individual farmers and reselling them to larger traders.