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Step It Up Together with Rural Women to End Hunger and Poverty

16 December 2016, FAO headquarters, Rome

Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls lies at the centre of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In addition to the targets for SDG5 “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”, it is reflected and mainstreamed across all 17 SDGs.






Stepping it up - together

In recognizing this, the High-level Event “Step It Up Together with Rural Women to End Hunger and Poverty”, scheduled for 16 December 2016 at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, will provide an interactive platform to address the structural causes and consequences of gender inequality in rural areas and to identify the main challenges, gaps, opportunities and collaborative actions for unleashing the potential of rural women and girls to end hunger and poverty.
Moreover, it will highlight what needs to be done differently and promote partnerships among Members, UN entities, civil society, private sector and other stakeholders. These are essential elements for achieving gender equality in the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Event is organized by FAO, the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) and the European Commission, in close collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Programme (WFP) and UN Women.

Ending hunger and malnutrition: the role of rural women

The Event centres on the critical role and contribution of rural women in increasing food security and eradicating rural poverty through agricultural and rural development. Gender equality and the empowerment of rural women is inextricably linked to the strengthening of food systems to fight hunger and malnutrition, and to real gains for rural lives and livelihoods at large.

There is substantial evidence that as much as half of the reduction in hunger between 1970 and 1995 can be attributed to improvements in women's societal status: progress in women's access to education alone was linked to a 43 percent gain in food security as significant as the gains from increased food availability (26 percent) and health advances (19 percent) combined.

Looking back and looking forward

The High-level Event takes place roughly sixty days after the International Day of Rural Women on 15 October. Within the larger context of maintaining global momentum for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls through 2016–2017 and beyond, it also looks forward to International Women’s Day on 8 March 2017, which will in turn build on the outcomes of the High-level Event. Finally, in the week subsequent to International Women’s Day, FAO, IFAD and WFP will together present outcomes and results from the High-level Event to the Committee on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations in New York.

When women control additional income, they spend more of it than men do on food, health, clothing and education for their children. Enabling and empowering rural women therefore translates into improved overall well-being for children, households and communities, which in turn contributes to building human capital for future generations and to long-term social and economic growth.

Empowering rural women and girls is therefore not only critical for agricultural development, it is crucial to social and economic progress, and to sustainable development overall.


In close collaboration with

IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) World food programme UN Women