Today is the international Women’s Day and since gender empowerment is a topic very close to my heart, I decided to dedicate not just the day but the full week to sharing excellent, inspiring articles and stories on women empowerment.
It’s pretty cool to have a job that allows me to spend some time every day reading awesome articles, blog texts and stories of inspiring projects. Today I started with a blog text by Jenny Costelloe, who is the director of country partnerships at Grow Asia. She writes about the lack of mainstreaming women in business, missing on the economic and societal benefits which women empowerment have been proven to bring on. Last week I chatted with her on this topic after which she agreed to write more about it – the conversation started from us trying to identify companies who are running specific programs on women empowerment in agriculture. We have found none, at least none interested in talking about that work on the Responsible Business Forum on Food and Agriculture which we are organizing and where Jenny will be moderating a session on this topic.
A woman lifted out of poverty in average takes 4 others with her. It makes financial sense in addition to the human values to empower women. In agriculture, FAO has estimated that women empowerment could increase food production by 20-30 % providing enough food for 150 million of the world’s hungry.
Another woman I look up to and am inspired by is Jeannette Gurung, who shared with us her post regarding innovations that could “reverse the historic neglect of women and gender within environment and climate initiatives”. Jeannette is behind the amazing W+ initiative and has been an excellent support and challenger in designing the discussion topics to the RBF Jakarta, especially focusing on how to address women as primary farmers, identifying key stakeholders and proposing useful approaches to improving women-farmer’s acknowledgement.
My Linked-In and Twitter feeds have filled up with many further inspiring women empowerment stories today and I hope they will continue the same way. So many organizations like UN Women, WOCAN, Grow Asia and SEI are trying to shift the businesses’ and government’s focus to realizing the unleashed power and potential that empowering women possess. Women empowerment is a key to solving many of the world’s most pressing problems – I’m humbled and proud to be a woman! Happy international Women’s Day!