Key Facts on Gender :: IWMI

Key Facts on Gender

More than one third of the female workforce is engaged in agriculture,
while in regions like sub-saharan Africa and South Asia more than 60% of all female employment is in this sector.
Two-thirds of the world’s 796 million illiterate adults are women.
Only 29% of researchers in the world today are women .
Women are central to our effort to elevate
development as a pillar of our foreign policy alongside diplomacy and defense. As those who grow the world’s food, collect the water, gather the firewood and wash the clothes — and increasingly, as those who work in the factories, run the shops, launch new businesses and create jobs — women are powerful forces for economic growth and social progress.”- Hillary Rodham Clinton, US Secretary of State, March, 2010
Rural Women and Development. Available at
2 International Literacy Day, UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Available at
Message of the UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, on the occasion of the International Women’s Day. Available at

4 Women are at the heart of US foreign policy. The Sunday Times. Available at centuries, women have played a critical role in growing food – from the hard labor needed for irrigation and cultivation to the work involved in harvest and production of food up to selling it in the market. Women grow and provide food and water for their families and are responsible for meeting the basic needs of their children.
Women and Water – A Tribute

For more information and IWMI’s work related to this issue please visit our Governance, Gender and Poverty theme page.