News / Africa

Agricultural Jobs Offer Independence, Status for Women

Women are the backbone of agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa<br>Women are the backbone of agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa
x
Women are the backbone of agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa<br>
Women are the backbone of agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa

Multimedia

Audio
Kim Lewis
A unique survey conducted on thousands of women working in agricultural processing plants from several countries in Africa and India, found that the work offered them opportunities that exceeded financial benefits. Olam International, the agricultural supply chain and food ingredients company, found that women working in its cashew processing plants, said the work they were doing gave them confidence, independence and choices that they would normally not experience. 

Nearly six-thousand women were surveyed from Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Nigeria and Tanzania. 

“We asked the women in our cashew processing plant, over and above their wage, what was the single most important factor to them in their employment, and 36% of those women identified that working gives them independence and choices,” explained Briony Mathieson, head of corporate & sustainability communications for Olam International. She added that at a close second, 33% of the women, said the work also gave them status and confidence.

Mathieson explained that the cashew supply chain requires intensive labor for it to be done well. The outer skin of the cashew nut must be peeled without breaking the nut. She said the nut is worth more when it is peeled whole, and the women working in these plants are very skilled in doing this.

In addition to performing unskilled labor, Mathieson pointed out that the women who work in agricultural processing do have opportunities to advance to more skilled positions.

“They are very good managers and they then gain more status within their communities, and obviously we offer them maternity rights and other benefits over and above the wage that they have as they would in any developing country,” said Mathieson.

The survey also found that women are more responsive to the opportunities that training gives them in many cases, than men.

“So women on the shop floor are given the opportunity to progress if they show an interest in doing that. I should point out that many women who do this unskilled work for us are in fact using this as a supplementary income to the fact that they’re also running a family farm. So generally, we build our factories close to where the cashews are actually grown so we could create a local economy,” explained Mathieson.

She said another benefit of working at the cashew processing plants is that 19% of the women found they receive useful information to take back to their families.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid