Working towards gender equality in rural societies
Women are the invisible pillars of rural societies. Their contribution to household food security and to commercial agriculture is fundamental; yet their work often remains unseen and unpaid. Various studies underscore the social and economic cost of rural women’s lack of education, resources and assets, relating it to high rates of under-nutrition, infant mortality, and low agricultural productivity. According to the FAO flagship publication “The State of Food and Agriculture 2010-11”, if rural women had the same access to land, credit, education and markets as men, agricultural production could increase by some 20 percent. This would raise the total agricultural production in countries by a minimum estimate of 2.5 percent; which, in turn, would reduce the number of hungry people in the world by some 12 percent, i.e. by some 100 million people.
The FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia works towards achieving FAO’s Gender Equality Objectives for 2025. These objectives were established in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), CEDAW and the Millennium Development Goal number 3: promote gender equality and empower women.
Gender is a cross-cutting theme throughout all FAO’s work and it is a key element of the Regional Initiative for Europe and Central Asia: Empowering Smallholders and Family Farms. Gender is mainstreamed, then, throughout all activities and projects of the Regional Office, including the coordination and support of gender activities at the sub-regional and national levels, giving priority to the Regional Initiative’s focus countries (Albania, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, FYR Macedonia and Tajikistan), with a special attention to Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Georgia and Armenia.
REU activities are covering three main areas of gender. These are