Italy: Female workers in agriculture

According to FAO data, women represent 45% of the agricultural workforce in the world, ranging from the 20% of Latin America to the 60% in some parts of Africa and Asia. If women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of people experiencing food shortages could drop to 150 million thanks to the increase in productivity.

Eurostat data (2013) reveals that, in Europe, women represent 21% of the workforce in the agricultural sector, mainly in Romania, Poland and Spain. However, they only represent 4% of working women in total (2011). 

Istat data (2016) revealed that, in Italy, women in the agricultural sector represent 27% of the workforce. They in turn represent 2% of working women against 14% who have a job in the industrial sector and 83% in the service sector.

Agricultural entrepreneurs
There are around 500 thousand female agricultural entrepreneurs. However, the data does not reflect the real situation as the survey only made it possible to indicate one manager per business. The 431 thousand wives working in the family business should also be taken into consideration.

49% of female entrepreneurs aren't married. Almost half (49%) is over 60 and only 9% is under 40. Their level of education is rather diverse: 6% has a degree (just like men who, however, are double in number) and 18% has a diploma. 9% are still illiterate!

While entrepreneurs manage 31% of surveyed businesses, they represent around 39% of managers in the commercial business and 33.4% of managers in "Other services".

Women work in all production sectors along the entire chain: they represent 42% of employed workforce.

As regards their tasks, they are divided up as follows:

● 45% is a " manager and employee"

● 31% is a "worker and similar"

Compared to men, almost double the women have a fixed-term contract relating to seasonal harvesting and processing operations.

The agricultural sector gathers around half (257,678) of female workers compared to the food industry.

Around 119 thousand women work in the food industry sector (around 40% of total workers), 87% of whom holding an open-ended contract (close to men at 90%). They represent a small percentage compared to the women working in the industrial sector (3%) but are considerably more than their male colleagues (0.02%).

It appears clear that women work in all agricultural sectors, starting with tree and vegetable cultivation down to industrial processing activities.

Source: Associazione Nazionale "Le donne dell'ortofrutta". 

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