- Women Thrive Worldwide hosts a symposium focusing on gender inequality as a major source of increasing food insecurity in many developing countries especially in Africa.
A symposium titled "Gender and Agriculture: Unlocking Africa's Potential" and host in Capitol Hill, Washington DC, will address an urgent need of creating effective and cost efficient agricultural programs worldwide targeting women as backbone of agricultural sector.
"The symposium will explore the importance of sustainable agricultural solutions by focusing on female agricultural workers in Africa," said an organization.
The forum will showcase how gender is crucial to sustainable agriculture and to food security for millions of African families. It will also chart the kind of commitment, leadership, and policies that are needed to ensure that African women who form backbone of agriculture on continent benefit from agricultural development.
It said gender related programmes have proven to be effective in increasing food security and reducing poverty, in the advent of soaring global food crisis and high food prices that hit many developing countries earlier this year.
Women Thrive Worldwide said women produce close to 80 percent of agricultural produce yet they have limited access to resources and opportunities needed to maximise output.
It said approaches to agricultural development by governments, and other stakeholders do not take into account different roles of both women and men, saying this results to programmes being ineffective as they will not address needs of the people.
Co-founder and president of Women Thrive Worldwide Ritu Sharma said women in Africa produce majority of food and are also responsible for their families' food and nutrition, saying focusing on their needs and expertise is crucial for agricultural programmes to be effective.
"Especially now, as women are having to pay higher prices to feed their families, it's crucial for us to work with them to create long-term, sustainable solutions," she said.
Catherine Bertini, senior fellow at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said investing in women in agriculture is one of the best opportunities to fight hunger, advance global development, and end extreme poverty.
"It is our hope that this symposium will encourage a dialogue in the development community that addresses the importance of gender in combating these major issues," she said.
Symposium takes place as women across many parts of Africa gear up for 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.
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