The path to gender equality in the context of food security

On 14th February took place the seminar on gender equality in the context of food security  organised by FAO, the Government Offices of Sweden, Sida and SIANI. This event aimed to provide current facts and figures, as well as highlight the challenges and present the solutions for transforming policy to action.

Blanca Casares, policy expert at AEIDL (European Association for Innovation in Local Development), partner of GRASS CEILING Horizon Europe project followed the event given the relevance for the project’s European Policy Forum for women-led innovation, coordinated by AEIDL and COPA-COGECA and the established Rural Pact Community group on women in rural areas they coordiate.

The seminar kicked off with a warm welcome from Dan Ericsson, State Secretary to the Minister for Rural Affairs, Sweden. The session was moderated by Johanna Bergman Lodin, Division of Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

With a full agenda of knowledgeable speakers, Lauren Phillips, Deputy Director, Inclusive Rural Transformation and Gender Equality (FAO), set the stage by presenting FAO landmark report, The Status of Women in Agrifood Systems, providing the latest data, lessons learned and recommendations about how to do more, and better. Among the data she highlighted was the evolution over the last decade of the employability of women in agrifood systems and what this represents in terms of their income. Regarding the remaining gaps, Lauren pointed out that the gender gap in land productivity between female and male managed farms of same size is 24%.

Among other relevant presentations, Rebecka Ramsted, Programme and Policy Officer, Permanent Representation of Sweden (FAO) presented process and timeline for the adoption of the Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girl’s Empowerment in the Context of Food Security and Nutrition by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS).

She pointed out that for the first time bringing a full policy product on gender equality under the umbrella of foremost inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for all stakeholders to work together to ensure food security and nutrition for all. Endorsement took place at the CFS 51 session.

The seminar continued with presentations by Geovanny Enriquez, JP GTA National Program Coordinator (FAO) on Promoting gender transformative approaches for food security and nutrition in Ecuador. Followed by Elisabeth Simelton (Sida) who replaced Sofia Orrebrink, Lead Policy Specialist for Gender Equalityy (Sida) and who gave an overview of Sida’s work in gender equality by talking about various realities in sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry,etc.

The seminar came to a close with a round table discussion about transforming policy into action for food security and gender equality. The different speakers of the session deepened their reflections on the usefulness of the guidelines, the capacity of use by the different countries, the inclusiveness of the implementation processes, the relevance of investment especially in reducing gender gaps and the adoption of the proposed solutions.

The event ended with some closing remarks from ambassador Ms.Nosipho Nausca-Jean Jezile, Chair of the Committee of World Food Security (CFS).