International Women’s Day 2022 – Agri-food-systems facing climate change in the MENA region: gender equality for better resilience – Union for the Mediterranean – UfM
Feb 19 2022
7 March 2022 10:00 12:00 CET / Online event co-organised by the UfM, FAO RNE and CIHEAM
The theme of the International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022 – Changing Climates: Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow – recognizes and celebrates the contribution of women and girls to building a sustainable future. The gender and climate change nexus will also be at the core the sixty-sixth session of the , which will focus on the priority theme: Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes.
Harnessing women’s skills and knowledge to effectively manage and preserve natural resources is critical to promoting greener, healthier, and more resilient agri-food systems, ultimately contributing to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. In the MENA region, otherwise more affected by the effects of climate change and the scarcity of natural resources such as water than elsewhere, women provide critical contributions to agri-food systems in the multiple roles they play as producers, processors, and traders. Women also have a wealth of knowledge on natural resources, such as land, water, and forests, as they are often in charge of their management, not only in their role as farmers, foresters or fisherfolk, but also as primary providers of water, food and energy at household and community level.
The potential of women and girls, however, remains constrained by the persisting inequalities that limit their access to assets, quality inputs, innovative technologies, and agricultural support services. These disparities, in turn, affect women’s productive and entrepreneurial potential and their opportunities to participate in the labour market on an equal standing as men. Discriminatory social and gender norms also continue to limit their participation in rural organizations and institutions, governance mechanisms and community-based associations. The share of women working in the informal agri-food sectors or being unpaid is also very high in MENA countries. This under-representation leads to an “invisibility” of women’s work and contributions, often neglected by practitioners, service providers and policymakers.
As a result of these inequalities and lack of visibility, women tend to face greater vulnerability and exposure to disasters and the impacts of climate change on the natural resources in the region. Besides,they continue to have limited opportunities to influence recovery and response policies and programmes.