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37th AU Summit: High-Level EWA Side Event to Showcase Empowerment of Women in Agriculture

The Empowering Women in Agriculture (EWA) initiative is set to hold a breakfast meeting to showcase African women’s advancement in agriculture next week Friday, on the sidelines of the upcoming 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of African Union, holding February 17 – 18 place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

EWA is a flagship project of the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN), one of the structures created to strengthen women’s participation in peace and security processes, by the Office of the AU’s Special Envoy (OSE) on Women, Peace and Security (WPS), to empower African women smallholder farmers towards improving the continent’s overall food security. 

Themed: “Scaling up Empowerment: Results Showcase and Partnerships Building for the Empowerment of Women in Agriculture,” the high-level breakfast meeting aims to celebrate successful initiatives for empowering women in agriculture and foster collaborations to further advance gender equality and sustainable agricultural practices.

A statement by the OSE said the meeting will therefore showcase the impactful results achieved through dedicated efforts to empower African women in agriculture and provide participants with the opportunity to learn about the successful initiatives as well as explore partnership opportunities to support ongoing efforts to empower women in agriculture.

Despite constituting 43% of the agricultural labor force in developing countries, women face limited access to agricultural support which results in lower productivity. This explains the importance of empowering women smallholder farmers in Africa to improve food security. Therefore, the EWA convening will address the agriculture-related gender gaps identified by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and how equal access for women could increase global farm yields and reduce hunger.

Expected outcomes of the meeting include increased awareness of the impact of initiatives supporting women farmers’ livelihoods as well as serving as a motivation for stakeholders to further commit to the cause of women empowerment in agriculture.  Others are the identification of potential funding sources for future initiatives aimed at empowering African women in agriculture; strengthening of partnerships among diverse stakeholders, as well as promoting exchange of ideas and best practices in empowering women in agriculture.

The African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) both strongly promote food security and gender equality in agriculture. Therefore, the EWA breakfast session will also focus on how emerging technologies and innovation can address the gender gap in agriculture as well as explore the potential benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for women in the agricultural sector.

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