The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has organised a two-day policy dialogue in Koforidua, Ghana, over the weekend focusing on promoting gender equality and empowering women to contribute effectively to the food system transformation agenda.
This event aims to foster inclusive and engaging discussions among various stakeholders, particularly Members of Parliament, to address the challenges faced by rural women in the agricultural sector and promote gender-responsive legislation, policies, and investment plans.
Agriculture and agricultural investments are crucial for addressing poverty, food security, nutrition, gender equality, and women’s empowerment in Africa. Despite high-level policy commitments and investments towards gender equality and women’s empowerment, there is a significant gap in translating these efforts into tangible development outcomes for rural women and their communities. This gap hampers the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the goals of the ECOWAS Regional Agricultural Investment Plan for food security and nutrition (RAIPFSN).
In Ghana, women account for 50 percent of the agricultural labour force and produce nearly 70 percent of food crops. However, significant gender and social inequalities persist, particularly among rural women. The parliamentary forum seeks to address these challenges by promoting gender-responsive legislation, policies, and investment plans in the agricultural sector.
According to the United Nations Resident Coordinator Charles Abani, in order for gender equality and women’s empowerment to drive Ghana’s economic growth, it is essential to enhance the capabilities of key stakeholders, including the legislative branch of the government. “This entails adopting transformative strategies and bringing about a comprehensive transformation of existing structures such as discriminatory social norms, customs, values, and exclusionary practices, as well as laws, policies, procedures, and services,” he added.
The forum will provide a platform for Ghanaian Parliamentarians, government officials, women’s networks, and representatives from civil society groups to engage in a dialogue on the importance of addressing gender equality and empowering women to support the transformation agenda of the food system.
“By learning from the experiences and knowledge shared at this event, parliamentarians will be better equipped to design gender-responsive legislation, policies, and investment plans to build on Ghana’s successes so far,” said FAO Representative in Ghana Yurdi Yasmi.
By bringing together diverse groups, FAO aims to create a platform for open communication, idea exchange, and collaboration. The policy dialogue will focus on addressing the challenges and barriers faced by women in the food system, such as limited access to resources, gender-based discrimination, and unequal opportunities. It will highlight the significant role women play in agriculture, food production, and rural development, emphasizing their potential to drive sustainable and inclusive growth.
FAO recognizes that gender equality and women’s empowerment are essential components of achieving food security and promoting sustainable development. By facilitating this dialogue, the organization aims to raise awareness, promote policy changes, and encourage concrete actions that support women’s meaningful participation and leadership in the agricultural sector. The event will serve as a platform for sharing best practices, identifying innovative solutions, and building networks and partnerships to advance gender equality in the food system.
The policy dialogue will feature interactive sessions, panel discussions, and workshops, allowing participants to contribute their knowledge, experiences, and perspectives. FAO is committed to ensuring that the outcomes of this dialogue are actionable and impactful, with the ultimate goal of creating an enabling environment that empowers women and enables them to contribute fully to the food system transformation agenda in Ghana.