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8 Mar 2016

Tri Widjayanti, Jakarta Globe

Indonesia: Palm oil sector needs to empower women to address inequalities in land ownership, pay levels & health risks

"Commentary: Palm Oil Sector Inequality Proves Need to Empower Women", 8 Mar 2016

In Indonesia almost half of the agriculture sector’s workforce is comprised of women. However despite providing a backbone to one of the nation’s most economically important sectors, women in agriculture can be marginalized and often have little access to financial resources, knowledge and technology to improve their crop yields and in turn better their lives. On this International Women’s Day we should use the opportunity to recognize the important roles of women in agriculture and to consider the benefits that their empowerment brings…

Gender inequalities in palm oil plantations include land ownership and pay discrepancies. Women can be unpaid for fruit collection as their contribution is sometimes used to help meet their spouses’ production quotas rather than for personal profit. According to a study published by Center for International Forestry Research last year, landless indigenous women are among the most vulnerable due to fluctuating palm oil prices and increasing competition for work.

Women, and their children, also often bear the brunt of health hazards while working in the palm oil sector…