Compared to other wealth and income opportunities, livestock are inflation-proof, self-perpetuating assets that women can own and benefit from. In addition to wealth accumulation, livestock provide income and nutritious food for their families.

While women assume much of the responsibility for raising livestock in many developing countries, they often face financial and cultural barriers to maximising this potential. By investing in women farmers, women, their families and communities can benefit.

Women’s role in livestock enterprises

Two-thirds of the world’s 600 million poor livestock keepers are rural women who do most of the day-to-day farm animal management as well as the processing, marketing and selling of animal produce. But due to social norms, women’s control over the income generated often remains substantially less than men’s.

Women’s empowerment

Women who access and control livestock assets improve the health, education and food security of their households. Ninety per cent of income under the control of women is channelled back into their households or local communities, compared to only 30–40% of income controlled by men.

Women and household nutrition

Women’s decisions about what they eat while pregnant and what food they provide their infants in the first 1,000 days of their lives generate lifelong health, growth and cognitive benefits or costs for those children.

ILRI News on Gender

Youtube videos


Photos from Flickr

May/2010 - Women fetching water in Ethiopia (photo credit: ILRI/Ranjitha Puskur).Sep/2006 - Ethiopian women carrying out household activities (photo credit: ILRI/Ranjitha Puskur).May/2010 - Women in a grain market in Ethiopia (photo credit: ILRI/ Ranjitha Puskur).May/2010 - Ethiopian women selling milk (photo credit: ILRI/Ranjitha Puskur).Jun/2005 - A young girl sells food to villagers outside Kano, Nigeria (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).Mar/2012 - ILRI staff and students from Loreto Limuru and Cardinal Otunga high schools celebrate the International Women's Day at the ILRI Nairobi campus on 8 Mar 2012. This year's theme was 'connecting girls, inspiring futures' (photo credit: ILRI/Newton Wanga).Mar/2012 - A cake to celebrate International Women's Day during a function held at the ILRI Nairobi campus on 8 Mar 2012 (photo credit: ILRI/Newton Wanga).May/2012 - Pinterest Board: Women in Livestock Development.May/2007 - Wife of urban dairy farmer Anan Thainan, Lakshmi Thainan, milks one of their buffaloes (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).