Female leaders want women’s role prioritised in climate change fight

Female leaders are calling for the prioritisation of the role of women in the fight against climate change and food insecurity on the African continent.

Speaking at a forum organized by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to mark International Women’s Day on Tuesday, they noted the role of women in making the world a better place cannot be over-emphasized.

Josefa Sacko, African Union Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment (ARBE) observed: “most of the work in the agricultural food systems in Africa is undertaken by women. 79% of economically active women on the continent report agriculture as their primary source of livelihood.”

Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA said; “when it comes to climate change, we, the women, cannot be victims. We are equal partners.”

“Women are great entrepreneurs. We are working on building their entrepreneurial capacity to ensure they have enough incentive to work, and to do more,” Sabdiyo Dido who is head of Gender and Inclusion at AGRA said.

The webinar was on the theme “accelerating women’s leadership for climate action, resilient food systems, and family nutrition.”

“Stronger commitment is needed from all stakeholders including the women on the table to ensure that gender gaps are addressed in food systems”. – Ms April Redmond who is Global Vice President at UNILEVER noted.

Dr. Gerardine Mukeshimana, Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources said her country is showing the way in empowering women. “In Rwanda, we have established a policy that ensures equal land ownership rights, for men and women. This has helped to transform the sector significantly, and empowered more women to venture into agriculture,” she said.

“Rural women are the doers. We need to ensure that every policy and every decision within the sector has this as a key consideration at all times,” she added.

“Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli who is executive chair of Sahel Capital is Nigeria urged women to help and support other females. “I believe in opening doors for other women. I do not want to climb the ladder alone. It is important to empower each other. I also like to challenge women and to ensure that they are accountable,” she said.

Dr. Beth Dunford, Vice President for Agriculture and Socio Development, African Development Bank (AFDB) said work is being done to make more resources available to women for their work. “$500m has been earmarked to support women agripreneurs in Africa under various programs. These, and many other positive efforts must be sustained, to ensure that the gender gap is addressed in the sector,” she told the forum.

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