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Our new website on gender mainstreaming

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The new site will contribute to a series of global initiatives, focused on ensuring world food security, by highlighting the fundamental role of gender equity in eliminating hunger and poverty

12 November 2009, Rome – FAO launched today this new corporate website on gender mainstreaming in agriculture and rural development. The new website reaffirms FAO's commitment to promoting gender equality and the empowerment of rural women. It will also contribute to a series of global initiatives, focused on ensuring world food security, by highlighting the fundamental role of gender equity in eliminating hunger and poverty.

Rural men and women are the world's main food producers, yet make up 70 percent of the world's poor and hungry. In a statement, FAO's Director General, Jacques Diouf, said: "We cannot fight poverty and hunger without addressing gender inequalities. I will personally ensure that FAO positions itself within the international community as the lead agency for promoting gender equality both in its technical work and in its human resources policies."

FAO's new strategic framework - which goes for approval by the Organization's biennial Conference in November - includes a specific strategic objective of gender equity in access to resources, goods, services and decision-making in rural areas. Adequate resources would be allocated to the strategic objective so that it can successfully reach its expected outcomes, Dr Diouf said.

As the United Nations lead agency for agricultural and rural development, FAO is in the midst of hosting a series of high-level encounters in Rome on the rising numbers of hungry people in the world. They include an Expert forum on How to Feed the World in 2050 (12-13 October) and a Civil Society Forum (14-16 November) involving farmers, indigenous people, women, youth and international NGOs. Outcomes will be presented at the World Summit on Food Security on 16-18 November, which aims at more effective and sustainable agricultural and rural development policies.

Eve Crowley, Principal Advisor in FAO's Gender, Equity and Rural Employment Division, says: "One of the cross-cutting issues to be reckoned with at every level in rural development is how social and economic inequalities between men and women can stand in the way of food security for an entire household, nation or region.

"We need to look at how gender differences can be taken into account to enhance the access which both rural men and women have to essential resources and opportunities to improve food security and sustainable agriculture."

The launch of the new Gender website also marks two important anniversaries in the history of FAO's support to rural women and gender equity. It is 60 years since FAO launched its first programme, in 1949, for women's economic and social development. Thirty years later, in 1979, the UN's landmark Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women – also known as "Women's Bill of Rights" - entrusted FAO with responsibility for advising and assisting countries on eliminating discrimination against women in rural areas.

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