Empowering women and girls is essential to ensure sustainable food security after COVID-19, said the head of the UN food agency ahead of International Women’s Day – World | Instant News

FAO-IFAD-WFP to focus on women’s leadership in efforts to build back better from the pandemic

March 6, 2021, Rome – Famine and famine will continue and there will be an unequal recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic unless more women in rural and urban areas take leadership positions with increased decision-making power, said the third chairman. The United Nations food agency is ahead of their joint event for International Women’s Day on March 8.

The event, jointly organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Program (WFP), will focus global attention on the important roles of empowering women farmers, entrepreneurs. and leaders need to play a role so that women can contribute equally to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and in creating an environment to eradicate poverty, increase productivity and enhance food and nutrition security.

“The world is home to more than 1.1 billion girls under the age of 18, who have the potential to become the greatest generation of leaders, entrepreneurs and change-makers ever for a better future. However, women and girls continue to face it. “structural constraints are persistent that prevent them from developing their full potential and hinder their efforts to improve their lives as well as their households and communities,” said FAO Director General QU Dongyu. “Women and girls can play an important role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and in particular in transforming our agri-food systems. We all need to work together to spark the changes needed to empower women and girls, especially in rural areas,” he added.

“It is imperative that women are not only in more leadership positions, but that they are consulted and listened to, and integrated across all areas and stages of pandemic response and recovery,” said Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD. “Investing in the leadership of rural women and engaging them more in creating a post-COVID future is critical to ensure their perspectives and needs are adequately considered, so that we can rebuild better food systems where there is equal access to nutritious food and eyes. decent livelihood. “

“Women and girls form half of our global community and this is when this is reflected in leadership positions at every level,” said David Beasley, WFP Executive Director. “We know from our work around the world that when women and girls have better access to information, economic resources and opportunities, and are free to make their own decisions, hunger rates go down and nutrition increases not only for themselves but also for themselves. their family, community. and country. “

Women’s leadership is especially important in rural areas in developing countries, where the voices of the 1.7 billion women and girls who live there are often overlooked. Sixty percent of women in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa work in agriculture – but they have less access to resources and services than men, including land, finance, training, inputs and equipment. In addition to their agricultural work, women are burdened with household chores and taking care of their families – a role that has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, women are more negatively affected by the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including loss of livelihoods and decreased personal income.

Ensuring that women have a greater voice is not just a matter of gender equality. Women leaders can advocate for women to have better access and control over productive assets and inputs, thereby increasing their productivity and income, leading to food security and increasing their employment opportunities and real wages.

Research shows that if female farmers have the same access to productive resources as men, they can increase crop yields by 20 to 30 percent and total agricultural output by 2.5 to 4 percent, lifting 100 to 150 million people out of hunger .

FAO works to strengthen the involvement and leadership of rural women in agri-food systems. FAO also engages with farmer organizations to ensure that rural women’s voices are heard and promotes a gender-transformative approach to challenge unfair socio-cultural norms in rural communities. In addition, FAO supports governments to adopt policies and strategies that address the needs and aspirations of rural women and girls, enabling them to participate in decision-making and take leadership positions. It also means enhancing women’s leadership skills and self-confidence as well as increasing gender awareness in national and local institutions. Within the Organization, FAO has established a Women’s Committee which provides an inclusive and safe space that reflects the diverse and energetic nature of FAO’s female workforce. The organization also creates incentives for career prospects for female staff and for achieving gender equality at all levels and in all job categories.

Since 2009, IFAD has implemented a ‘household methodology’ approaches to strengthen the equal role and decision-making capacity of women in households, groups and communities. Evidence from Uganda, Rwanda, Kyrgyzstan, and other countries has shown that women who take part in programs take leadership roles in their organizations and communities, and have a greater voice in decision-making in their households. This has increased agricultural productivity.

Food security and gender inequality are closely linked to losses that start at a young age. In many countries boys and girls have very different childhoods. Boys eat first, are given more food than their sisters, do less housework and get married later. For girls, marriage and not school work can dominate their childhood. WFP’s work on achieving gender equality begins in schools where the support or implementation of School Feeding programs in more than 70 countries is contributing to increased school attendance of girls. This provides them with greater access to education, reduces the risk of child marriage and other forms of gender-based violence, and improves future livelihoods and leadership opportunities for girls.

Notes to editors

Event Leadership of women in the world of COVID-19 for a better future – will be broadcast on Monday, March 8 at 14:30 – 16:00 CET. List here

Asel Kuttubaeva, an expert in rural women’s economic empowerment in Kyrgyzstan, Kehkashan Basu, a youth environmental advocate from Canada, and Rea Abada Chiongson, an expert on gender and justice, are among the participants of an event that will reflect on how women leaders can bring experiences, their perspectives and skills to ensure equitable and sustainable pandemic response and recovery.


Peter Mayer
(+39) 06570 53304
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Antonia Paradela
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Frances Kennedy
(+39) 346 7600806 [email protected]

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