WOMEN’S FORUM SPECIAL REPORTS
An ongoing series of articles highlighting upcoming topics and topical outcomes from Women’s Forum events around the world
Women's Forum Italy and WE-Women for Expo
Put Women at the Heart of Expo 2015
Editorial: Emma Bonino, Former Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Italy
Our story started in 2008 when Milan won the bid to host Expo 2015. It began with an idea from Letizia Moratti, then mayor of Milan; Diana Bracco, currently Commissioner of the Italian Pavilion; and myself back when I was Italy’s Minister of Foreign Commerce. And the idea became reality when I became Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2013.
The theme chosen for Expo Milan – Feeding the Planet and Food Security – is, by definition, a fundamental women’s issue. Not only because women are, naturally and historically, the first agents of nutrition, but also because they currently form the majority of those working in agriculture. Women constitute 70% of small-scale farmers in Africa, home to a significant part of the world’s poor and malnourished. Furthermore, women run the majority of new agricultural start-ups in developed countries and have always held professional roles in the food production chain. In short: however we look at it, women are and will continue to be vital to the future of food security.
As part of our efforts we have formed an alliance of women to combat food waste and ensure greater rights for women working in food and agriculture. We will examine these and other issues during our Women Weeks conference series (29th June – 10th July), which begins with Women’s Forum Italy 2015.
Ultimately it is my deepest conviction that WE-Women for Expo must continue after Milan, creating the foundation for future Universal Expositions. That is why we are committed to finding a way to take WE from Milan to Dubai Expo 2020. We want Expo 2015 to leave an important and decisive legacy by women and for women. We want it to become a steppingstone for those who believe that women represent the driving force for promoting growth and change across the globe.