FAO celebrates International Women's Day with the release of Plan of Action

FAO Director-General Diouf escorts special guests Agnelli (left) and Montalcini into International Women's Day celebrations

"Mainstreaming women as agents of food security" was the theme of FAO celebrations held Wednesday 12 March in honour of International Women's Day. Special guests included Senator Susanna Agnelli, the former Italian Foreign Minister, and Rita Levi Montalcini, winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine. They joined FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf in addressing a crowd of more than 500 member countries' representatives, press and FAO staff in FAO's Plenary Hall.

The event was organized by FAO's Women and Population Division, which also marked the occasion by releasing "Gender: Key to Sustainability and Food Security", an illustrated version of the FAO Plan of Action for Women in Development (1996-2001).

"As the United Nations agency responsible for agriculture, forestry and fisheries worldwide, and with the mandate to promote sustainable agriculture and rural development as well as food security for all people, FAO will carry on and further its mission to ensure that women, in addition to men, have the support and access to resources they need to pursue sustainable livelihoods and an improved quality of life," says Director-General Diouf in the foreword to the new report. "Through the Plan of Action, the Organization will ensure that this pledge is carried forward to the next millennium, with all the resources and creativity it has at its command."

The Plan of Action represents the FAO framework for assisting Member Nations in implementing a global blueprint of actions to promote the advancement of women that was the major outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in September 1995.

Other Women's Day activities included a photo and graphic arts exhibit on women's participation in development, the presentation of a video on rural women and a seminar on such diverse topics as defining gender, women's nutritional education and extension programmes for women farmers.

13 March 1997

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