GENDER insights

25 inspiring women reshaping the food system

Photo of woman with beans Photo: Georgina Smith/CIAT.

On the occasion of International Women's Day, March 8, 2021, Food Tank is celebrating 25 women who are working to close the gender gap and empower women in the food system, including, among others, CGIAR GENDER Platform Director Dr. Nicoline de Haan.

Highlighting women who are championing better, more equal food systems fits with this year's theme for International Women's Day: Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.

Food Tank writes:

It’s clear that we ignore women in the food system at our own peril. The FAO reports that if women farmers had the same access to resources as male farmers, they could bring 100-150 million people out of hunger. Research from the FAO also shows time and time again that gender equality opens doors for entire communities to improve nutrition security as well as social and economic well-being.

Citing a recent interview with Dr. Maureen Miruka, Director for Gender, Youth & Livelihoods for CARE USA, the article underscores the important roles that women play in food systems:

"Women are farmers, innovators and decision-makers. But, 'they still face social norms and barriers that prohibit them from fully expressing their leadership. So, we are here to say we should create the opportunities for women to play a role in [addressing] the COVID-19 crisis.'”

The 25 women highlighted for their leadership on food system transformation include Dr. Nicoline de Haan, CGIAR GENDER Platform director. The CGIAR GENDER Platform is recognized for its ambition to

"transform how gender research is done and push for change toward improved gender equality for smallholder farmers across the globe."

Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, executive director of African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD), a close partner of the CGIAR GENDER Platform, is also featured. AWARD provides fellowships focused on teaching research and leadership to foster the success and security of African smallholder farmers.

Leading the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment lever for change under the UN Food Systems Summit, Dr. Jemimah Njuki, Director for Africa at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is also included. The Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment lever is identified as one of four that have the power to bring about change and achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Read on at to learn more about other brilliant women leading the way toward better, more equal food systems.

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