Africa / Agriculture / Climate Change / Gender / ILRI / Livestock / LIVESTOCK-FISH / PIL / Presentation / Women

International Women’s Day 2016: What issues are central to agricultural development for women?

A woman milks one of her goats in Ségou District, Mali

A woman milking her goat

Gender equality is an essential component for sustainable economic development. This year, the International Women’s Day (IWD) sparked a variety of discussions about climate change, livestock and gender in ensuring food security, improved nutrition and generating income at the household, national and international levels.

Empowering rural women, especially in Africa, is vital to enabling poor and vulnerable people to improve their livelihoods, increase their household incomes, overcome poverty and build resilience to impacts of climate change. However, social and economic inequalities between men and women continue to undermine food and nutrition security and thus negatively affect economic and agricultural growth.

In 2015, the world witnessed two critical global agreements – the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Climate Agreement. Both agreements emphasize the need to enhance gender equality while developing response measures to address climate change, reduce food insecurity and improve nutrition. Now, most countries are preparing to unpack these agreements and develop policies and programs specific to their needs. Africa should not to be left behind.

This year’s IWD theme was: SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement: Achieving gender parity in African agricultural systems. Gender scientists from the Climate and Agriculture Network for Africa (CANA) and partners held a webinar to discuss various gender issues in agriculture. The webinar was built on three SDGs namely: end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls and take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

The aim of the webinar discussions was to explore women’s opportunities in agreements that can enhance their contribution and participation in agricultural activities, measures to ensure gender commitments in the SDGs and Paris Agreement are positively implemented in agriculture and steps needed to ensure gender parity in agriculture.

Katie Tavenner, a post-doctoral fellow at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) presented the challenges and opportunities to achieving gender parity in the Kenyan intensive dairy sector. In this presentation Tavenner explores dairy management tasks for men and women, strategic openings for gender parity, and indicators for gender inclusion in development interventions.

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