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FAO Announces New Gender Policy at International Women’s Day Event

FAO8 March 2012: Three Rome-based United Nations agencies - the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Program (WFP) - celebrated International Women's Day by highlighting the role of rural women in guaranteeing food security, and FAO announced a new Gender Equality Policy.

The event was hosted by IFAD and held in Rome, Italy, on International Women's Day, which is celebrated on 8 March. Discussions focused on empowering young women, underlining that although they can be agents of change in their communities, too often, they lack access to productive resources like land, credit and technology. The event included speeches by the President of IFAD, Director-General of the FAO and representatives from the WFP and member countries.

At the event, the FAO announced a new Gender Equality Policy, noting that empowerment of women could raise farm productivity by 20-30%. The policy's objectives are to achieve the following by 2025: women and men participating equally as decision makers; women and men having equal access to, and control over, employment and income, land and other productive resources; women and men having equal access to goods and services for agricultural development and markets; women's work burden being reduced by 20% through improved technologies, services and infrastructure; and the percentage of agricultural aid committed to women/gender-equality related projects being increased to 30% of total agricultural aid. The FAO policy recommends targets for increasing effectiveness in addressing gender imbalances, including incorporating sex-disaggregated data into all major FAO statistical databases by 2015. Furthermore, the FAO also aims to finalize its human resources plan to achieve 50% female representation among its professional staff.

IFAD's work with young women has included efforts in Ghana to improve access to post-harvest processing facilities. IFAD also noted that when women earn money, they are more likely than men to spend it on their family and in educating their children.

[IFAD Press Release] [FAO Press Release]