Women play critical roles in food systems—as producers, processors, traders, consumers, scientists, and policy makers. Women represent on average 43% of the agricultural labor force globally and are essential agents of change in ensuring the shift to more efficient and climate-resilient food systems.
The empowerment of women is associated with improved food security, better management of climate change impacts and better nutrition for women and their households and communities.
However, women’s voices are often not often heard in processes related to food systems transformation. Not only are women poorly represented in food systems organizations from farmers’ groups to global food companies, but they are also underrepresented in the policy setting and political arena. This lack of voice and representation is a human rights issue, and often leads to subpar policies, investments and programs that do not address women’s specific priorities and constraints or advance the goal of gender equality.
The September UN Food Systems Summit is a critical inflection point for setting a new path towards women’s empowerment and gender equality. Hundreds of policymakers, development practitioners, and agribusiness leaders will gather to commit to bold actions for transforming food systems. To drive this change and generate accountability for these commitments, the summit’s Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Cross Cutting Lever is proposing the Global Food Systems 5050 initiative.