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: Marta Dassù, Executive President of WE-Women for Expo "Women form 43% of the global labour force in agriculture"
Reinforcing women’s rights and consolidating their skills in agriculture are two key elements in increasing food security. In fact, the agenda for combating hunger and the agenda for women’s rights largely overlap. Not only because women are – historically and naturally – the primary providers of food, but because they have become a highly significant presence in small-scale farming realities. This is why the Women for Expo Alliance, set up for Expo Milan, is a self-explanatory project.
According to FAO data, women form 43% of the global labour force in agriculture. And this percentage increases (fluctuating between 50% and 70%) in many sub-Saharan African countries.
The problem is that a series of barriers in place still limit their potential.
These barriers include a lack of access to agricultural financing, restrictions on property ownership (inheritance rights in particular), an absence of productive inputs and limited access to education. Fighting these barriers is one of the crucial factors in the fight against hunger, which still today affects nearly 800 million people worldwide.
In a nutshell: there is no possibility to increase food security without empowering women in agriculture. If they were given more rights and more tools, women would become the driving force behind that increase of agricultural production needed to fight hunger and malnutrition.
The Women for Expo Alliance, a global alliance prepared for Milan, explains how to make concrete progress in this direction, including reducing food waste and losses.
The project, however, is even more ambitious. The aim, in fact, is that Women for Expo become a permanent feature in all Universal Expositions – at least until what we define as gender gap remains present in so many areas of human development.
Marta Dassù, Executive President of WE-Women for Expo has spoke at the Women's Forum Brussels, in 2014 on the theme "Advance women’s participation in politics and government". She will do the closing of the Women's Forum Italy.