FAO Zimbabwe Joins the World in Commemorating International Women’s Day

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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Zimbabwe today joined the world in commemorating International Women’s Day 2022. Held under the theme #BreakingTheBias, whether intentional or not, bias especially in the food and agricultural sectors makes it difficult for women to get ahead. Knowing that bias exists is not enough. Action is needed to level the playing field in this sector. This year’s commemoration comes as the world is struggling with the effects of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic among other challenges – women and girls suffer the most from this burden.

“Climate change affects men and women differently. It is therefore impossible to build resilience in households and communities without addressing systemic gender inequalities because gender affects sensitivity to disturbance and, even within the same household, individuals will experience shocks and stresses in different ways,” said Dr. Patrice Talla, FAO Subregional Coordinator for South Africa and FAO Representative for Zimbabwe.

March 8 is celebrated around the world as International Women’s Day. For many women in Africa, including those working in the agricultural sector, it will just be another day where invisible barriers are holding them back from their true potential. FAO believes that inclusivity and equity are the keys to achieving sustainable development in agriculture and that this goal cannot be achieved without taking into account the central role played by women in this sector, including in agricultural markets, trade and value chain development.

In Zimbabwe, FAO has played a major role in acknowledging, advocating and celebrating the contribution of women and girls to building sustainable agri-food systems. FAO projects, which have been implemented in the country that have made a major contribution to food security and nutrition are carried out anchored around gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Adaptation to climate change requires building the capacity of households and communities to not only survive and recover from the current crisis but also strengthen their defenses against future threats. Through the Livelihoods and Food Security Program (LFSP) and IDAI’s cyclone recovery project, assets accumulated through women’s ownership of small livestock help build resilience to climate shocks and protect households during COVID-19. Under social norms, women who own assets are given strong rights to control income and decisions about how to spend money. Ownership and control of assets by women increases their decision-making power and control over the benefits of agriculture. Women’s ownership of small livestock has been shown to have a direct relationship with improving household nutrition and building household resilience to climate and other shocks.

Women are usually the first adopters of climate and agro-ecological smart technologies. With 70% of those receiving extension training on climate change being women, FAO has seen women and girls play a key role in climate change adaptation and mitigation and disaster risk reduction in many communities. Women farmers and women fishermen use the important knowledge gained in early warning systems and production techniques, to better adapt to changing climatic conditions.

FAO shares its commitment to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in agri-food systems through a community-based facilitated and pluralistic approach to extension that responds to wider livelihood options and increased outreach for women and girls. Being the most affected through climate change, and the majority of agricultural workers, women are an important part of the solution in managing natural forest resources and indigenous seed systems, especially neglected and underutilized seeds. Where projects have empowered women, rural farming households make joint decisions about which crops to plant with women making more decisions about crops than their male counterparts.

According to FAO Assistant Director General and Regional Representative for Africa Abebe Haile-Gabriel, “Women are vital to Africa’s agricultural development. They play an important role in agriculture in the region. They contribute significantly to food production, processing and marketing, household food security and nutrition, natural resource management and biodiversity conservation in the face of climate change. In recognition of the role of women, this year’s International Women’s Day theme focuses on the importance of gender equality for sustainability. On International Women’s Day and every day, FAO fights for gender equality and the empowerment of women for a sustainable future.”

Let us all join hands and raise awareness about the gender-differentiated impact of climate change on agri-food systems, and the interventions needed to address them, build the resilience of women and girls, and unleash their potential to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impacts.

Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias. Happy International Women’s Day from the FAO Zimbabwe team!

Distributed by the APO Group on behalf of the FAO Regional Office for Africa.

This Press Release has been issued by APO. Content is not monitored by the Business Africa editorial team and is not content that has been vetted or validated by our editorial team, evidence readers or fact checkers. The publisher is fully responsible for the contents of this announcement.

FAO Zimbabwe Joins the World in Commemorating International Women’s Day

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