The empowerment of rural women is of benefit not only to themselves but to their families and their communities. Research shows that women spend on average a much greater percentage than men of the money they earn on their families’ food, housing, health and education. However, most commonly, rural women when employed, tend to be seasonal casual workers paid on a daily or piece rate basis.
The concept behind Fatima’s Farm was to provide women with salaried employment all year. The concept went a stage further in that the farm is managed by women and all workers are women. To help break down gender stereotypes, roles typically performed by men, such as tractor operators, will be performed by women.
Fatima’s Farm is a 20 hectare site within Weppa Farm. Work on Fatima’s Farm commenced in May 2018 and 20 hectares of wet season maize were planted. Twenty women were employed on a permanent basis. Many of these women were disadvantaged being either widows or single mothers.
The maize will start to be harvested in September and irrigation equipment and poly tunnels are being installed on Fatima’s Farm to enable all year cultivation of a variety of crops. Diversity of crop production will be a principle of the farm, since it is believed if women are involved in production, they are more likely to use the products. As women mainly manage households and decide on what food is eaten, the use of a greater range of products will create a more varied and nutritionally balanced diet for their families.