FAO, UN Women bring international experts in Kigali at Women Deliver together to address challenges affecting women in Agrifood systems

On 17 July 2023 at 09:00

FAO Rwanda, in collaboration with UN Women and the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, will host a side event to deliberate on the status of Women in Agrifood systems. The event will be organized on the sidelines of the Women Deliver global conference on July 18, 2023.

Women Deliver (WD) is a prominent global advocate international that supports gender equality and the health and rights of girls and women in all their transecting identities. 6,000 participants are expected at the Women Deliver Conference in Kigali, Rwanda from 17 to 20 July 2023.

FAO and UN Women will leverage the presence of multi-stakeholders, including high-level policymakers, at the Women Deliver Conference to present their work in supporting women in Agrifood systems and value chains, with a focus on presenting the data, evidence, messages, and recommendations from the global Report on the Status of Women in Agrifood Systems, recently launched by FAO.

Speaking about the upcoming event, FAO Rwanda Country Representative Coumba D. Sow underscored that the forum presents an opportunity for stakeholders to devise ways of unlocking bottlenecks that limit women from maximizing their involvement in Agrifood systems.

“Women’s access to land, inputs, services, finance, and digital technology, which is key to working in Agrifood systems, continues to lag behind men’s. In many countries, there still is much to do to ensure that women own land equal to men and that legal frameworks protect their rights.”

Amidst all these challenges, however, Rwanda has made significant strides in addressing issues limiting women’s involvement in the Agrifood systems, including ensuring gender-responsive land certification and bridging the digital divide gap.

Leading up to the event, The UN Women Country Representative in Rwanda, Ms. Jennet Kem emphasized the importance of the report in creating concrete evidence that will support a gender responsive environment in agrifood systems which is foundational in sustaining global social and economic growth.

"Rural women are key agents of transformational change for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). When women are empowered to equally and actively participate across the entire agricultural value chain, and are equipped with the tools, resources and technologies that catalyze productivity, we begin to witness the emergence of communities thriving through reduced hunger, increased incomes, and climate and economic resilience.” says Ms. Jennet Kem.

“In Rwanda, for example, land titling programs that include women’s names led to increased rural land investment that was nearly twice as large in female-headed households as in men-headed households. Further to that, half of the positions within the government-backed Digital Ambassadors Program are reserved for women to enable them to be advocates within their communities and networks to encourage other women and girls to go online.

As of December 2019, the program had provided digital skills training to 41,980 women, youth, and rural people across 12 districts. An impact assessment reported that 87 percent of those trained reported increased incomes and use of e-government services” Coumba noted.

This joint event reiterates the importance of collective action and collaboration to overcome challenges and seize the opportunities that come with the embedding of gender equality in agrifood systems.