Strengthening gender equality in business is an important and valid entry point to achieve Sustainable Development Goals that leave no-one behind. Making progress on gender means tackling entrenched power inequalities in diverse societies. At the heart of gender inequality lie systems of patriarchy and related socio-cultural norms which must be challenged at multiple levels. In practice, social and religious taboos restrict entry points. But upscaling collective action to strengthen women’s role in business can be facilitated.

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In much of sub-Saharan Africa, women have little say in decisions over land. Unless proactive steps are taken to enable women to have a stronger voice, large-scale agribusiness projects will leave them even more marginalised. Though there has been little research in this area, an emerging body of thinking and practice provides clear pointers as to how governments, NGOs and investors might mitigate such risks in future, particularly by explicitly addressing gender issues head-on from the very outset.

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