Why Empowering Women Farmers Will Help Fight Hunger

Giving poor women farmers more tools can bring down the number of hungry in the world by 150 million, said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran on Thursday, highlighting a central theme at Empowering Rural Women, an event organized by WFP and UN Women on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. Other speakers at the event also highlighted the role that women farmers can play in defeating hunger.

NEW YORK -- The Empowering Rural Women event highlighted the critical role that women farmers can play in defeating hunger, and explored how the public sector, community organizations, business and international community can work together to empower them.

woman for woman advertisement featuring a woman holding her baby girl"The case for empowering rural women is overwhelmingly powerful," said co-host WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran, citing the latest State of the Food and Agriculture Report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. "Empowering women farmers with more tools can bring down the number of hungry of 150 million people in the world."

"I call on governments and businesses to support entrepreneurs in the fight against hunger and poverty. All entrepreneurs, not the least female entrepreneurs," said Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal. "Business women face far greater difficulties than businessmen. Women in rural areas, for example, have limited access to land, insurance or credit facilities." Download Minister Rosenthal's speech

The event, co-sponsored by Bangladesh and the Netherlands, included a debate moderated by ABC's award-winning anchor Christiane Amanpour, who engaged the audience in a debate about ways to empower rural women and improve food security.

Here is a taste of the discussion, from three of the key figures attending the event: UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet; Reema Nanavaty, Director of SEWA (India); and Anne Itto, South Sudan's Minister for Agriculture.

UN Women and WFP unveiled a joint commentment to support women-led associations and small-scale businesses to supply 'home-grown meals' in poor countries. Women make up over half the world's population but in many regions they are more likely than men to go hungry. Experience has shown that in the hands of women, food is more likely to reach the mouths of hungry children. The majority of WFP's beneficiaries are women and children -- and WFP is making focused attempts to assist rural women. Download Outcome document

Empower women on the frontlines of hunger