UN Women launch joint initiative to empower Rural Women

Dennis Kabatto

30 September 2012

Discriminatory social institutions, formal and informal laws, added to norms and practices that limit their social and economic opportunities, women are all fired up and are demanding change.

Barely three days after co-hosting UN General Assembly high level event on the rule of law, focusing on women’s access to justice for gender equality and to stop violence against women, UN Women collaborating with three Rome-based United Nations agencies working on food and agriculture, met last Thursday, September 27, 2012, to launch a joint program to empower poor rural women through economic integration and food security initiatives.

UN Women officials say they have teamed up with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Program (WFP) to “spearhead a comprehensive UN –system response in support of rural women’s economic empowerment through joint actions.

Mr. Hadrien Bonnaud – Communications and Media Manager in the UN Women’s New York office said that; “the event – Accelerating Progress toward the Economic Empowerment of Women,  is a 5-year joint pilot program that will be implemented in Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Nepal, Niger and Rwanda”.

The need to empower rural women is clear and urgent: They are key contributors to global economies, playing a critical role in both developed and developing nations; they enhance agricultural and rural development, improve food security and can help reduce poverty levels in their communities.

In some parts of the world, women represent 70 per cent of the agricultural workforce, comprising 43 per cent of agricultural workers worldwide, but gender inequality and limited access to credit finance; healthcare and education, continue to pose a number of challenges.

President of Liberia – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Director General for International Cooperation of the Netherlands, Rob Swartbol, President of CIDA Margaret Biggs, United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues  Melanne Verveer, and President of the Pan-African Farmers’ Organization Elizabeth Atangana, amongst others,  attended the event.

UN Women Executive Director  – Michelle Bachelet is leading  this joint program, with the participation of high-level government representatives, rural women’s organizations and the private sector.


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