Women are the key to achieving a world without hunger and poverty

Women are the key to achieving a world without hunger and poverty

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By speaking at a high-level event co-organized by FAO, the European Commission and the Slovak Presidency of the European Union, in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Program (WFP) and UN-Women , Graziano da Silva added that "women are the backbone of our work in agriculture", indicating that they account for 45 percent of the agricultural workforce in developing countries, a percentage that reaches 60 percent in some areas. from Africa and Asia.

These figures underscore the importance of ensuring that rural women have equal opportunities, according to the FAO Director-General

“Everything is a question of opportunities. Evidence shows - he said - that when women have opportunities, the returns on their farms increase and so does their income. Natural resources are better managed. Improves nutrition. And the means of subsistence are more protected ”.

For this reason, rural women are key actors in the effort to achieve all the Sustainable Development Goals, but especially SDG2, freeing the world from hunger and malnutrition ”, explained Graziano da Silva

Zero Hunger: impossible without women

The European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, pointed out to the participants of the event that: “It is often said that if you educate a woman, you educate a whole generation. The same happens when we empower women in any field, not only with access to knowledge, but also to resources, equal opportunities and giving them a voice ”.

However, current statistics suggest that the world is not meeting this goal, according to Mimica.
“We know,” she said, “that agricultural yields would increase by almost a third if women had the same access to resources as men. As a result, there would be up to 150 million fewer hungry people in the world. And we know that children have much better future prospects when their mothers are healthy, and have financial resources and training. Especially during the first thousand days of the child's life ”.

“If we really want to end poverty and hunger once and for all, we all need to extend our support to rural women. As a way of investing in families, in our communities, in our societies and in the future of our planet ”, said the EU Commissioner.

Closing the gender gap

Gabriela Matecná, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Slovakia and current President of the Council of the European Union, pointed out that “the gender gap imposes significant costs on society, in terms of losses in agricultural production, food security and growth. economic".

Although nearly half of the world's agricultural workforce is female, he noted, women own less than 20 percent of farmland. At the same time, 60 percent of the chronically hungry people on the planet are women or girls.

However, “when women are fully involved, the benefits can be seen immediately: families are healthier and better fed; your income, savings and investments increase. And what is true of families is also true for communities and, in the long term, for the entire country ”, added Matecná.

Work together towards a common goal

Representatives from other UN organizations also participated in today's event at FAO headquarters, emphasizing the importance of eradicating gender inequality and empowering women with information, training, tenure and fair access to resources. and agricultural, nutritional and health support services.

“When you invest in a man, you invest in an individual. When you invest in a woman, you invest in a community, ”said IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze.

“We are seeing time and again that gender equality opens the doors for entire communities to strengthen their food and nutrition security and improve their social and economic well-being,” she said, adding that “empowering rural women is actually empowering rural women. humanity".

“Only by empowering women farmers can we harness the potential of global food systems. Supporting them is essential to build resilience, build stronger companies and advance food security in the long term, "said Denise Brown, WFP's Director of Emergencies.

For her part, the Director of UN-Women Programs, Maria Noel Vaeza, recalled that closing gender gaps in agriculture “can provide multiple dividends for development, including gender equality for rural women, food security and poverty reduction, better climate management and peaceful societies. "

Key facts

• In developing countries, women represent 45% of the agricultural workforce: from 20% in Latin America to 60% in parts of Africa and Asia.

• In developing countries in Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, women typically work 12-13 hours longer than men per week.

• In all regions, women are less likely than men to own or control land, and their parcels tend to be of poorer quality. Less than 20% of landowners in the world are women.

• If women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry people in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million, thanks to increases in productivity.

• Women reinvest up to 90% of their earnings in their homes, money that goes towards nutrition, food, health care, school and income-generating activities, helping to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.


Video: Viola Davis Talks Hunger Is Initiative at Power of Women (June 2022).


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