CFS 44 Side Event

Delivering on the SDGs by focusing on gender equality and women's empowerment and leadership for better food security and nutrition for all

Wednesday, October 11, 13:00 to 14:30
Iraq Room (Bldg A/B 2nd Flr)

Key Speakers

Chair: Lourdes Magana da Larriva, EU Delegation Representative, moderator

Ms. Thato Moagi, Farm Manager, LeGae La Banareng Farms (South Africa)

Mr. Karim Hussein, Executive Secretary, Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (Switzerland)

Ms. Margaret Munene, CEO, Palmhouse Dairies and Founder of Palmhouse Foundation (Kenya)

Mr. Agusdin Pulungan, President, WAMTI – Indonesian Farmer and Fishery Organization (Indonesia)

Nick Martell-Bundock, Corporate Responsibility Lead, Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Cargill (United States)

Jacqueline Paul, Senior Gender Advisor, Gender Office, World Food Programme

Event Summary

Gender diversity and parity is essential in delivering and achieving the SDGs. There have been significant achievements in the fight for gender equality, but immense work remains to be done.

The transition to gender equality is not monolithic; it is experienced differently across the world as a result of local context, including history, culture, economic status, race, and other factors. While local context should inform the details of interventions, women should always play a key role in the decision-making processes. In agriculture specifically, women represent an immense percent of the workforce, but are systematically discouraged from taking on decision-making roles. Including women in the planning and post-harvest processes is foundational to empowering women in agriculture and producing female leaders and role models. 

It is paramount that women have equal access to resources. As such, some products and processes will need to be re-evaluated with attention to women’s physical, economic, and familial needs and obligations. Examples of gender-inclusive programming might include scheduling trainings at a time that allows women to attend without compromising their childcare duties; making farming tools that fit women’s smaller hands and lighter weights; encouraging women to open bank accounts in their own names; and so on. Economic empowerment cannot happen if the very infrastructure of farming and marketing agricultural products continues to give de facto preference to men. 

Girls need to be recognized as girls, not women: programs and policies must acknowledge that girls have unique needs and strengths. Most importantly, girls require access to quality education, safe spaces, and adequate nutrition in order to lay the foundation for a fruitful future in which they can play roles on par with men. 

The success of women’s empowerment also depends on the involvement of men. Engaging men in gender analyses and trainings will prepare them to advocate respectfully on behalf of their female peers. All members of a community must learn how to see women as meaningful economic actors; acknowledging women’s financial potential is a key step to gaining the support of men and creating positive role models for both male and female children. Ultimately, women’s empowerment – and the interrelated work of good nutrition and food security – is everyone’s responsibility. 

Key outcomes / Takeaway messages

  • Women are powerful agents of change.
  • To achieve the SDGs by 2030, we need to include women in decision-making roles and allow them to realize their potential and rights.
  • Education and improved access to farming and financial resources are essential.
  • We must tailor resources differently for women and girls.
  • Men need to be involved as agents for women’s empowerment. 
  • Change is only going to come from a collective action.

Delivering Sponsors