Women are key for sustainable food systems and eliminating hunger and malnutrition

Gender equality and women’s empowerment play a central role in achieving food security and improved nutrition.


FAO North America and CARE organized the first Food Systems Dialogue focusing specifically on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment for Food Security and Nutrition. The interactive dialogue focused on the often-invisible role of women in food systems, and the urgent need for women’s empowerment to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virtual dialogue, moderated by Tonya Rawe, Director for Global Food and Nutrition Security at CARE, featured nine breakout sessions on topics ranging from women’s decision-making power, access to productive resources and services, gender-based violence, indigenous women, cash transfers and the role of institutional environments. Experts from CARE, FAO, IFAD, WFP, UNSCN, Feed the Truth, GAIN and the World Bank facilitated the sessions. Over 100 practitioners from civil society, UN agencies, private sector, and government institutions attended the dialogue and participated in the 40-minute breakout sessions.

“Women play a key role in food systems and in times of crisis, yet they face the biggest nutrition challenges. Women must be at the center of the COVID-19 response planning and decision making,” urged David Nabarro, Director of 4SD and WHO Special Envoy on COVID-19.

“Different power relationships between men and women matter in their own right, but also for reducing malnutrition and hunger. These different power relationships are most immediately manifest in unequal access to resources but frequently are powerfully reinforced by laws and norms. All three dimensions of power relationships need to be addressed throughout the food system so that decisions - from farm to fork - can work best to reduce malnutrition,” emphasized Lawrence Haddad, Director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).

“CARE puts women and girls at the center of the 'She Feeds the World' framework to ensure that they have access to resources and decision making. Collecting the right data is important to inform advocacy,” explained Maureen Miruka, Director for Gender, Youth and Livelihoods at CARE USA.

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