Welcome to Gender Month 2023 on Agrilinks!
Welcome to Gender Month 2023 on Agrilinks!
We are excited to announce that USAID will soon be launching a new USAID Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Policy! We will be posting details of the launch when available, so stay tuned!
Earlier this year on January 4, the U.S. government launched the first-ever interagency Strategy on Global Women’s Economic Security, which envisions a world in which women and girls are able to fully, meaningfully and equally contribute to and benefit from economic growth and global prosperity. This strategy is important for Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, led by USAID, considering agriculture and food systems are such important contributors to economic growth in many countries. At the launch of the strategy, Administrator Power noted, “...we just can’t solve the greatest challenges of our time without empowering women economically. It just can’t be done. It’s structurally impossible.”
A number of studies and data, including the United Nations (UN) Women’s Gender Snapshot 2022, show that women and girls are not making the progress needed for them to fully contribute to the food security of their families, communities and countries. As noted in the Gender Snapshot 2022, achieving gender equality would take nearly 300 years on the current path to progress. And the compounding impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s war on Ukraine and climate change continue to be dire for women and girls. In 2021, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimated that at least 126 million more women than men experienced food insecurity, and the gap is growing.
Gender disparities are also observed in the digital space. The UN’s theme for International Women’s Day this year focuses on the digital gender gap, and the cost of women’s and girl’s exclusion in the digital world. While the past five years have seen some reduction in this gap, there is still significant room for improvement. According to the GSMA’s latest Mobile Gender Gap Report, women are still 7 percent less likely to own a phone and 16 percent less likely to use the internet on their phones than men. All told, more than 370 million women lack access to a phone and over 900 million are not using the internet.
To address the barriers faced by women and girls, we must focus our efforts in a number of areas, including increasing female producers’ resilience to production shocks, including climate change, and investing in their economic security through opportunities across the food system — both in production and in value chain segments beyond production. Our humanitarian response should also prioritize addressing the unique needs of women and girls affected by crises. Other challenges include supporting more women to take leadership roles across food systems and collecting and using data that can help us track status and progress, including sex-disaggregated indicators and the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI).
This month, USAID and our partners will highlight approaches covering a wide range of issues related to gender equity and equality in food systems. Look out for blogs on women’s economic security, digital inclusion, gender data and policies, climate, livestock and many other topics throughout March.
A few highlights not to be missed
Advancing Women’s Empowerment Program
The Feed the Future Advancing Women’s Empowerment (AWE) Program will share their top resources and information on working with the private sector to achieve inclusive development results. AWE will highlight tips and best practices to develop productive, long-term private sector partnerships and create alignment to achieve mutually beneficial results. AWE will also share tips on measuring results and generating data to support the business case on how equity and inclusion can increase profit, generate new business opportunities and strengthen the market systems.
Additionally, AWE’s newsletter in March will focus on women’s economic security.
Gender Month Webinar
Get involved! Take action!
We invite you to visit Agrilinks throughout the month of March for the latest gender-focused posts and events that will equip you in your own work and action plans! Remember to always ask yourself: “How is my work removing barriers to women’s ability to participate and lead?”
Together, we will create the transformative change needed for women and men, and girls and boys, to have equal opportunities to advance.