by Susannah Fisher, Foundation Relations Manager
The World Economic Forum predicts glacially-paced progress to closing the global gender gap—it estimates 117 years to gender parity across the world!
We can't wait that long.
Today, on International Women's Day, we join the World Economic Forum and its partners to take the #PledgeForParity.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says giving women the same access as men to agricultural resources could increase production on women's farms in developing countries by 20 to 30 percent. This could raise total agricultural production in developing countries by 2.5 to 4 percent and alleviate the hunger of 100 to 150 million people.
We see every year how access to agricultural resources help women. Right now, a third of our program partners are women with entrepreneurial spirits who are farming to help their families survive while achieving their ambitions and becoming leaders in their communities to help “pay it forward.”
LET'S MEET A FEW OF THESE INCREDIBLE WOMEN!
San Benito Poite, Belize
MARCEDA PAAU was in her early teens when she began her partnership with us. She was determined take advantage of all the training offered. She worked alone in her garden, until she persuaded her father and siblings to help her. That was three years ago – now she sells organic produce at local markets in Belize, making in a month what many rural farmers in Belize barely make in one year.
Los Alonsos, Panama
Graduate NANCY ALONSO felt empowered to take a leadership role in her community. She began working with us because she wanted to learn to farm without causing damage to her family’s health or the environment. When her community came together and formed their own Rural Bank to provide lending and saving support to working farmers, she took a leadership role as the Treasurer of the “La Esperanza” community bank. Now she helps other families thrive through her work with the rural bank.
Marceda and Nancy are just two of the thousands of women we've worked with over the years.
WHAT'S THE BIG IDEA?
On January 1, 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at the historic Sustainable Development Summit—officially came into force. Over the next fifteen years, with these new goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.
It’s an ambitious goal, and we can do just as much as world leaders and nations to realize it. We all have a role to play if we are going to reach gender parity by 2030.
It starts with us on an individual, everyday basis. Respect the voice of the girls and women in your life. Be a cheerleader for their accomplishments. Be a resource for their knowledge-seeking. Be an advocate.
We partner with farming families and see first-hand the benefit of empowering women farmers. Investing in rural women significantly increases productivity and improves rural livelihoods—not only for women, but for everyone.
Take the pledge with us now.