International Women’s Day 2020: Celebrating Gender Equality in Cotton Farming Communities Across the World

Published Sunday, March 8th, 2020

Women in cotton farming communities can face significant discrimination and challenges, partly as a result of pre-existing social attitudes and beliefs about gender roles. Despite the crucial role they play in the labour force, rural women in smallholder farming communities often work as unpaid family labour or low-paid day labourers, and their views may be overlooked in decision-making as a result of entrenched gender bias in farming families.

The Better Cotton Initiative seeks to ensure equal and respectful treatment for all women in cotton farming communities, and today, we’d like to celebrate women’s achievements by sharing stories from the field from Pakistan, Mali and Tajikistan.


Promoting Gender Equality: Female Farm-Worker in Pakistan Fulfils Her Dream of Economic Independence

Following her mother’s footsteps, Ruksana Kausar married a cotton farmer when she was young. Like many women in her community — where cotton communities farm the land to survive — Ruksana works hard on her family’s cotton farm, sowing seeds, weeding the fields and picking cotton amid the searing heat of Punjab. Learn more about Ruksana’s journey.


Towards Women’s Economic Empowerment in Mali: One Woman’s Journey to Improve the Lives of Rural Women

Since 2010, Tata Djire has worked for BCI’s on-the-ground partner in Mali, Association des Producteurs de Coton Africains, where she introduced the BCI Programme. Tata was instrumental to the success of the BCI Programme in Mali, supporting smallholder farmers and women in agriculture. Learn more about Tata’s journey.


Female Farmer Becomes a Role Model in Pakistani Cotton Community

Meet Pakistani cotton Farmer Almas Parveen and hear about her inspiring journey, enabling other farmers — both men and women — to benefit from sustainable agricultural practices. Almas regularly gives talks to girls in schools, and she recently helped to establish a new primary school in her village. Learn more about Almas’ journey.


A Day in the Life of an Agricultural Advisor in Tajikistan

Chamangul Abdusalomova has been an agricultural advisor in Tajikistan since 2013, delivering training and support to BCI Farmers. An agronomist by training, she holds field days to showcase new technologies and runs practical demonstrations to help farmers grow cotton more sustainably. Learn more about Chamangul’s journey.