According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in developing countries, rural women act as a keystone of small-scale agriculture and daily family subsistence. The recognition of their crucial roles has recently increased as well as the recognition of their contribution in agricultural production. Regardless of the fact that the roles and needs of female farmers are recognized in policy, agricultural policies still do not address the needs of women farmers satisfactorily and tend not to be adequately translated into practice in agricultural development programs and planning. In almost all these countries households headed by females belong to the poorer level of society and often have lower incomes than households headed by males. Both of them lack access to agricultural resources but women are often claimed to have less access to resources in comparison to men. For instance, lack of land ownership is argued to limit women’s ability to access credit, as land is often used as collateral. The situations they face may not only vary according to the degree of their lack of resources, but also according to different types of farming systems, social-ethnic groups and cultural institutions in general. Access to resources is often claimed to be essential to improving agricultural productivity of both male and female farmers. Studies have argued that male and female farmers are equally efficient as farm managers and attribute lower levels of inputs and human capital to explain women farmers’ lower yields than men (Quisumbing, 1995).
This work aims to analyze gender characteristics and gender differences in agricultural productivity using a cross-sectional household survey data collected in Peru. I estimate log linear models that aim explaining differences in female and male household heads’ values of production per hectare by plot, controlling for socio-economic characteristics of the household heads, agricultural inputs and regional variations in the Peruvian context. My results indicate there are no real effects of sex of the household head itself as well as no effects of sex of the household individuals on plot yield hectare. Furthermore, productivity differences are shown to be attributable to the several inputs male and female household heads use for their agricultural production. The inputs they use appear to be influenced by the different characteristics of the regions where the plots are located. Education and having Spanish as mother tongue were shown to be of high importance for agriculture in the Peruvian context. This suggests Spanish skills language and education, become a policy priority for female household heads to increase female household heads’ productivity in comparison to males’, since the lack of these characteristics may describe a disadvantage of females to be more productive.