Women are key to feeding a growing Mediterranean population

FAO Director-General: “When rural women are empowered, agricultural productivity increases and national economies grow.”

Women digging for clams in the Tunisian town of Skhira, on the coast of the Gulf of Gabes. (© FAO / Giulio Napolitano)

Rural women’s contributions and leadership will be key to feeding the Mediterranean region’s growing population and achieving sustainable food production, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva told participants gathered at an event organized last week by the Union for the Mediterranean and Portugal in Lisbon.

“By enabling rural women to reach their full potential, we can make food systems more inclusive, efficient and effective”, he said in a video message at the Women4Mediterranean conference, aimed at providing solutions to the various challenges the region’s women face in achieving full participation in public, economic and civil life.

“From our work, we know that when rural women are empowered to enjoy equal access as men to resources, services and opportunities, then agricultural productivity increases and national economies grow,” he added.

The conference gathered more than 300 high level stakeholders from all sectors involved in gender equality and women’s empowerment in the euro Mediterranean region, including country representatives, ministers, local authorities and institutions, parliamentarians, international organizations, civil society platforms, academics, private sector actors, project promoters, personalities with an outstanding commitment towards gender equality, media and youth.

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