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‘’Transforming agrifood systems depends on gender equality’’: QU Dongyu launches landmark FAO report on the status of women in agrifood systems
Tuesday, 2023/04/25 | 06:13:58

FAO News 13/04/2023


Rome- The Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu, launched on Thursday the new FAO report “the status of women in agrifood systems’’ during a high-level event at FAO headquarters.


The report provides a comprehensive picture of the status of women working not only in agriculture, but across agrifood systems. It also presents extensive data and lessons learned about gender in the sector, with a particular focus on how women participate in and benefit from socioeconomic opportunities.


“Progress in closing gender gaps in agrifood systems over the past 20 years has been slow and uneven. In too many areas, gender gaps are either unchanged or growing’’, Qu warned.


He underscored that transforming the way women work in agrifood systems – and in particular by reducing the gender gaps in wages and productivity – would have a positive impact on agricultural production, food security, diets and child nutrition, and would contribute to the global economy.


“FAO estimates that by closing these gaps, there could be a one-off increase of nearly 1 trillion US dollars – which means 1% of global GDP - and the number of food insecure people could be reduced by 45 million’’, he highlighted.


Qu added that with the publication of the report, FAO reaffirms its commitment to further increase our work on gender equality and women’s empowerment.


‘’Transformation of our agrifood systems to more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable depends on the empowerment of all women, and on gender equality’’, he said urging members to work together towards these goals.


Josefa Sacko, the African Union Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment, along with Laura Suazo, Secretary of Agriculture and Livestock of Honduras, were the keynote speakers at the launch.


Sacko highlighted that African women in agrifood systems face significant disadvantages compared to men dueto laws, policies, customs, and programs. In Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, 60% of working women are in the sector, but they lack equal access to assets and resources essential to agri-food systems, such as land, input services, finance, and digital technology.


To address this issue, she said, the African Union, with the support of the UN, is developing a policy to empower women in agriculture. She further expressed the readiness of the AU to work with others to implement the recommendations of the report and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.


Likewise, Suazo emphasized that women are not just half of the problem in the world, but also half of the solution. To achieve true gender equality, she called for greater access to training and education for women and girls, both formal and informal.


The Minister also stressed the need for women's political participation and policy involvement, especially in Latin America, Central America, Africa, and Asia highlighting the importance of ensuring that policies are gender-sensitive and inclusive in these regions to create a more equitable and just society.


During the event, FAO highlighted the relevance of the report’s findings for policy and decision-makers, development actors, the private sector, civil society and academia. Different stakeholders from these sectors also shared insights from their own work on gender equality and empowering women in agrifood systems, as a key ingredient for the realization of the SDGs.

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