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In many rural areas, women are key actors in gathering and providing food, and yet their work is underpaid and they are often restricted from the fruits of their labor. In places such as sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean, women contribute to 80% of food production, which includes planting, gathering, harvesting, and selling. Women essentially control the agricultural realm. However, policies do not reflect this ‘feminization of agriculture’ and theref0re women are not given the special benefits that they need and deserve. Despite their hard work, land owning titles are often rewarded to the husband. This keeps women from having legal rights to the land that they work on and from gaining financial support from banks, which require some sort of ownership as collateral.

The question comes down to whether women making less money than men is an individual problem or a systematic problem. An individual problem is one that occurs because of specific troubles in a certain situation based on an individual’s own decisions. A systematic problem, on the other hand, is when society is constructed in such a way that consistently reveals the same results. Individuals are essentially locked in the position that they’re in because rules and regulations give them no way out. This is clearly a systematic problem, as female labor is an integral part of food production and distribution, and yet policies and cultural traditions keep women from moving up on the social ladder. They are part of the process, yet they do not reap any of the benefits of their work.

Without recognition or payment for their duties, women will continue to be seen as the inferior gender in many areas of the world. Despite their dedication and talent, the product of their labor falls under the name of their husbands, requiring women to depend on their husbands for their livelihood. From sub-Saharan Africa to South Asia to Latin America to industrialized nations, women consistently make less money than men, enforcing the male-dominated culture. Those who are seen as powerful are those who are in control of the  money and carry the titles. Without access to what they deserve, women will continue to be doing the work on the sidelines and still relying on their husbands to make the major decisions that will affect them.

For more information about women not being properly compensated for their work, click here.

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