On 7 July 2022, WFO board member Ms Mary Robinson addressed on behalf of the Farmers’ Major Group the United Nations 2022 High-level Political Forum official event: “SDGs in focus: SDG 5 and interlinkages with other SDGs – Gender equality” to bring the women farmers’ voice into the debate.

The event focused on current barriers that must be overcome to achieve gender equality worldwide, worsened by two years of pandemic and the spreading of conflicts, food insecurity and climate change-related disasters. It was also the occasion to take stock of the opportunities and promising practices to empower women and girls in advancing progress across the 2030 Agenda.

President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture since 2019 and representative for the North American Constituency on to the WFO Board since 2020, Mary Robinson is a managing partner of a 6th-generation family farm operation in Prince Edward Island, where she cultivates soybean, barley, and hay. During the WFO 2019 in Luxembourg, Mary Robinson was awarded for contributing to a better world through her leadership in Farmers’ Organisations.

She started her speech underling that “Empowering women and ensuring gender equality is crucial for the absolute and efficient implementation of the 2030 Agenda.”

In fact, if women farmers had the same access to opportunities and resources as men, the number of hungry people in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million. Also, a 25% reduction in the labour force gender gap by 2025 could raise global GDP by 3.9%, meaning the potential to achieve much more by 2030 is strong.

Ms Robinson remarked to the audience that women are the rural communities’ backbone. However, in many countries, women face immense barriers in accessing resources, land, infrastructure, education, leadership opportunities, technology, and funding. COVID19 has further exacerbated this reality.

Women farmers across the world are stewards of local traditions, culture, land, and biodiversity, coping with enormous responsibilities that, unfortunately, especially in some areas of the world, remain deep-rooted and hidden.

To overcome this situation, “it’s key that women farmers get increasing opportunities to participate in leadership and policy-making processes at regional, national and global levels, through equitable and just policies, legislation, investments, programs, training and social measures,” she said.

Ms Mary Robinson, on behalf of all farmers of the world,  called on Governments and all other stakeholders:

  • Jointly create an enabling environment that fosters women’s empowerment, increasing their self-esteem, confidence and entrepreneurial skills.
  • Eliminate discriminatory social norms and stereotypes, as well as strongly condemn every form of gender-based violence.
  • Make sure women have decent livelihoods, social protection, the same job opportunities and salaries as men, and equal access to all services, both financial and non-financial.

“As we successfully empower more women and girls in agriculture, we will accelerate and increase the progress to achieve much of the 2030 Agenda – much like how a rising tide lifts all boats,” she stated, closing her speech.