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


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.

Women in Agriculture Trip to Colombia: Dispatch from the Field

Root Capital SVP Catherine Gill (center) with trip participants. Through this blog, we try to bring you close to our clients and their stories. Sometimes, some of our partners and donors take the opportunity to get even closer, and accompany us over the mountain and down the muddy road to meet the farmers and see firsthand the amazing agricultural businesses we work with. Two weeks ago, the Root Capital crew – our senior vice president, Catherine Gill, our Colombian loan officer, and I – bused around Colombia’s coffee lands with partners from the Weissberg Foundation, Dietel Partners, and the Aspen Institute – on a Women-in-Agriculture-themed trip.

Tweaking Financial Management Trainings to Better Serve Women: A Checklist

A Root Capital financial management workshop in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. A few years ago, Esperanza Dionisio, the general manager of Pangoa, a coffee cooperative in Peru, told us a story about a meeting she’d recently attended. “There wasn’t a single woman there,” she said. “More than a hundred men, all of them stunned, looking at me like some kind of rare insect. But I had the chance to raise my hand and say something, and they were all shocked. It was just me and all those men, but I had the background and the knowledge, and so in the end they were satisfied, and they appreciated my work.”

Root Capital Client Shines at Bush Center’s 2015 Global Women’s Network

Plenary panel at the 2015 Global Women's Network. Photo credit: ExxonMobil Foundation. Earlier this week, Iliana Martinez, the general manager of Cooperativa Esquipulas, a smallholder coffee farmer cooperative and Root Capital client in the highlands of Guatemala, and Root Capital’s SVP Catherine Gill joined First Ladies, private and public sector leaders, and the next generation of innovators in Dallas at the George W. Bush Presidential Center’s two-day Global Women’s Network summit.

Sustainable Agriculture Depends on Women

Stella Kimemia of Classic Foods | photo credit: Partners in Food Solutions. It’s an inspiring thing to see a woman-led business increasing livelihoods for women farmers and employees in parts of the world that markets struggle to reach. It’s even more powerful when that business does so while having a positive impact on the physical environment. At Root Capital, investing in those kinds of businesses – high-impact, gender-inclusive, focused on agriculture – is our sweet spot. We provide loans and capacity-building services to these enterprises in Africa, Asia and Latin America, giving them the critical capital they need, but all too often cannot access, to grow their business and scale their impact.

Getting Women a Seat at the Table: Q&A with Charles Maina, Financial Advisory Coordinator for East Africa

Over the last year or so, our Advisory Services team has been experimenting with different ways in which we can continue to increase the participation of women in our various financial management and technical assistance workshops around the world. Recently, we had the chance to sit down with Charles Maina, our financial advisory coordinator for East Africa, to hear about the innovative approach he and his team have been piloting among our Advisory clients in Uganda and Rwanda.

In the West African Sahel, Women Stand Like Giants

The baobab trees of West Africa, gigantic in size and majestic in stature, are providers: They store water and food for animals in times of drought; they provide homes for birds (owls, parakeets and hawks) throughout the year; and, for many local families, the mighty baobab produces fruit, seeds and leaves that provide a critical source of income. Just starting a Root Capital due diligence trip in northern Senegal, beside the mighty baobab tree.

Así es como David Lozano de Root Capital trabaja para redefinir el ‘machismo’ en México

Inversión con un enfoque en la igualdad de género. Half the Sky.  HeForShe. Lean In. Durante los últimos años el empoderamiento económico de las mujeres se ha convertido en un tema predominante entre periodistas, profesionales del desarrollo internacional, inversionistas y empresas internacionales por igual. A pesar de que el interés en estos temas de la igualdad de género ha ido creciendo significativamente, David Lozano, quien trabaja en México como Coordinador de servicios de asesoría financiera para Root Capital, ya había iniciado a dedicar su trabajo a esta problemática desde hace 20 años, analizando el impacto que las desigualdades de género tienen en las personas, en las familias y en las comunidades en general.

How Root Capital’s David Lozano is Redefining ‘Machismo’ in Mexico

Half the Sky. Gender-lens investing. HeforShe. Lean In. Over the last several years, women’s economic empowerment has become a prevalent theme among journalists, international development practitioners, investors, and global companies alike. While mainstream interest in these issues has only recently piqued, Chiapas-based David Lozano, Root Capital’s Financial Advisory Services Coordinator for Mexico, has spent the last 20 years exploring gender inequality and its impact on individuals, families, and communities throughout the country.

Asuom, Ghana: Where Sustainable Palm Oil is Not an Oxymoron

Serendipalm employees in Asuom, Ghana. Photo credit: Dr. Bronner's. One hundred miles northwest of Accra, Ghana, sits Asuom, a village of surprising and beautiful contrasts and contradictions. The vermilion clay earth and rust-tin roofs in Asuom pop in contrast to the verdant greens of forests nearby. But it’s within these forests that an even more unexpected paradox exists: large, splayed trees producing sustainable palm oil. Four thousand acres of trees are cultivated by the 670 farmer members of Root Capital client Serendipalm – the world’s first, and largest, fair trade and organic certified palm oil company.