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


Reclaiming Home-Grown Grains in Senegal

After years of watching working mothers switch from feeding their children Senegalese grains to imported rice, Bineta Coulibaly decided to take action.

Reflecting on “Rwandan Women Rising”

  On a summer evening in Cambridge, MA, author, educator, and former ambassador Swanee Hunt sat down with activist Chantal Kayitesi and Root Capital founder and CEO Willy Foote to discuss the important role that women have played in Rwanda’s recovery from conflict. Hunt is the author of Rwandan Women Rising, a book she wrote to celebrate the visionary women who are paving the road to Rwanda’s recovery and reconciliation in the wake of the 1994 genocide.

Women in Agriculture Initiative: 2016 Annual Report

At Root Capital, we believe fiercely that women are critical to breaking the cycle of poverty, hunger, and environmental degradation in rural areas of the developing world. That's why we're thrilled to share our 2016 Women in Agriculture Annual Report, which details the progress we’ve made over the last year through the WAI and the strategies we’ve implemented to increase economic opportunities for women around the world.

Download Report

Peru’s Coffeelands: Where Women are Taking Charge

Dora Lisa Carrión Gómez, president of the women's group at the coffee cooperative APROCASSI.  Businesswoman. Farmer. Community leader. Mother. Most of us would struggle to be any one of those things. Dora Lisa Carrión Gómez? She’s all four.

Laying the First Stones towards Gender Equity

Women carry stones that will form the foundation of a new sorghum collection and storage center.  As part of my role with Root Capital, I’m privileged to travel to remote areas in Africa and Latin America to meet with our clients and the smallholder farmers at the core of their business. Recently, I was in Meru, Kenya, with my colleague Erick Sakwa, Root Capital’s Women in Agriculture coordinator for East Africa.

How this Peruvian Artisan is Running a Business on Her Own Terms

Fany Paty, artisan supplier to Art Atlas, a textile business based in Arequipa, Perú. Fany Paty always wanted to run her own business. Like many entrepreneurs, Fany longed for a job where she could have flexible working hours and a healthy degree of independence. But for Fany, this wasn’t a matter of personal preference. She needed to bring in enough money to provide for her family while still having the time to care for them day-to-day.

From 2 A.M. to Sundown: A Day in the Life of Carmen Blandón

Carmen Blandón, member of Root Capital client Solidaridad, at her home in Matagalpa, Nicaragua For 52-year-old Carmen Blandón, her coffee farm is a business. And she’s the boss.

Women in Agriculture Initiative: 2015 Annual Report

Root Capital invests in women by investing in agricultural businesses that promote gender-inclusive practices. This report presents an update on our Women in Agriculture Initiative (WAI), through which we study the roles played by women across our value chains and the barriers they face to full participation, and identify opportunities to deepen our clients’ impacts on women.

Download Report

Odds Stacked Against Her, This Woman is Rising to the Top of Her Game

Kenia Ubeda, general manager of UCCEI, a Root Capital client in Matagalpa, Nicaragua Kenia Ubeda never thought she’d be running a coffee business. “I was an agronomist and a coffee farmer,” she says with a smile on her face. “I didn’t know the first thing about commercializing coffee.” But the community leaders who tapped Kenia to found and run UCCEI, a farmer cooperative in the coffee-fueled town of Matagalpa, Nicaragua, knew she had what it took. And in 2009, Kenia rose to the challenge and became UCCEI’s general manager, overseeing a business currently sourcing from over 900 smallholder farmers in the region.

A Persistent Daughter Teaches Her Old School Dad New Tricks

Throughout our 15 years of lending to agricultural enterprises, we have found that women are often hired for office positions in accounting, marketing, sales and other midlevel management roles – roles that are highly influential but less visible, and therefore less studied and celebrated, than top-tier leadership roles. We call these women “hidden influencers.” In the context of large corporations, McKinsey & Company has defined the term “hidden influencers” as “people other employees look to for input, advice, or ideas about what’s really happening in a company.” Odalis Noeme Guerrero is just one example of a “hidden influencer” we have had the fortune of meeting through our work. Odalis  Noeme Guerrero, agronomist at UNICAFEC.