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

$92.3M

in loans to gender-inclusive and women-led businesses in 2022.

1,641

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

128

additional jobs for women supported by Root Capital in 2022.

581K

women farmers reached since 2012.


Stories of Impact


Earning a Premium for Women-Produced Coffee

Members of the women-only group that produce “Café Feminino” at the Nuhaulá cooperative. In early September, we released our second issue brief, Applying a Gender Lens to Agriculture: Farmers, Leaders, and Hidden Influencers in the Rural Economy, which chronicles our experience working to empower women throughout the economic continuum. This post is the first in a series of snapshots…

Applying a Gender Lens to Agriculture: Farmers, Leaders, and Hidden Influencers in the Rural Economy

In this issue brief, we share how we've applied a gender lens to our work in smallholder agricultural finance. Through our Women in Agriculture Initiative, we're doubling down on our support for women farmers, agro-processing employees, and leaders. This program is fostering economic empowerment and underscoring the vital nature of women in less conspicuous—but high-impact—agricultural roles.

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Root Capital Client Sopacdi Brings Hope to the DRC

Sopacdi, a Root Capital client since early 2013 At this year’s Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) exposition, the world’s largest gathering of coffee professionals, all eyes were on Sopacdi, a coffee cooperative in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Root Capital client. Honored with the 2014 SCAA Sustainability Award, Sopacdi took center stage with its story of revival, growth and hope in the midst of a country ravaged by years of civil war and unthinkable violence.  

From Inspiration to Action: Celebrating International Women’s Day

Producer members of Root Capital client Savannah Fruits Company, a shea butter cooperative in Ghana Early last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center, the United Nations Office for Partnerships, and Business Call to Action hosted their annual International Women’s Day Forum, a daylong event at the United Nations marking International Women’s Day, which the…

Africa’s Mega Micro Hedgers: Why we have a lot to learn from smallholder farmers

Margaret (left), of Olivalo, with Seraphina and Liz. In early February, several Root Capital supporters accompanied Catherine Gill, Root Capital’s Vice President of Investor Relations and Rachel Serotta, our Investor Relations Officer, on a trip to Tanzania and Kenya. In the post below, Liz Wilson of the Small Foundation reflects on the…

Through the Lens: Women in Agriculture

"When we first started the cooperative, it was comprised of both men and women, but decisions were always in the hands of the men. At the time, there were women members, but they had trouble accessing training and financing. So, we changed our cooperative laws to include equality for women, to draw awareness to women’s issues through education and communication."  - Denia Alexa Marín Colindres, General Coordinator, PRODECOOP, a Root Capital client in Nicaragua 

Women in Agriculture Series: The Changing Role of Women in Coffee – Part 2

Wesley Weissberg (left) interviewed women leaders and producers working in the coffee industry while in Guatemala. Last October, we shared the first audio story in a two part series produced Wesley Weissberg, a longtime supporter of Root Capital and advocate of our Women in Agriculture Initiative.

Just a Little Bit Bigger

Morning coffee in northern Nicaragua with Fatima Ismael, the amazing manager of SOPPEXCCA I’ve just returned from a trip to northern Nicaragua, where we were visiting SOPPEXCCA, a 750-strong farmer coffee cooperative managed by an extraordinary leader, Fatima Ismael. Fatima and I have worked together for a decade, and I always look forward to talking to…

Women in Agriculture Series: The Changing Role of Women in Coffee – Part 1 of 2

Lesbia Morales, President of the Farmer Committee of the Highlands (CCDA) To mark International Day of Rural Women we are excited to kick off our Root Capital blog and share with you the first of two audio stories. These stories were produced for us by Wesley Weissberg, a dear supporter of Root Capital and an…

FORBES — Get Sh*t Done’ for Rural Women Entrepreneurs

We need more men and women working tirelessly and courageously every day to create a better world--more Fatima Ismaels, Direscema Joses, Pamela Anyoti Peronacis, and Rosario Castellóns. View Article