Oct 11, 2022
Top Ten Reads – Intentionally Supporting Rural Women can Move the Needle Toward Transformed Food Systems

As the world increasingly faces profound upheavals in its food systems exacerbated by pressure from climate change and other shocks, it is paramount to mobilize all available resources to strengthen the food systems. Rural women and girls play an unquestionable role in building resilience. As we mark the International Day of Rural Women, we shine a spotlight on the urgent need to transcend boundaries to build equitable food systems and the critical role rural women play in our food systems.

The United Nations Secretary-General’s report Our Common Agenda calls for a transformation of global food systems to ensure everyone has access to healthy diets. By guaranteeing that rural women and girls benefit from and participate in this transformation, we can help deliver Sustainable Development Goals, including Gender Equality (Goal 5) and Zero Hunger (Goal 2).

“Rural women represent the backbone of many communities, but they face obstacles preventing them from realizing their potential. The devastating impacts of climate change add to their hardship,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

In this month’s top ten reads, we have curated resources on the role of rural women in enhancing agriculture and climate resilience and how we can ensure their equal participation and benefits.

Explainer: Why women need to be at the heart of climate action

This article underscores the need for women’s and girls’ equal participation in decision-making in the fight against climate change. It illuminates why placing gender equality at the center of climate action requires integrating varied gender perspectives across climate policies and programs.

Climate teachers: rural women in Uganda trained their village to resist floods

After a flood washed away her village in 2007, Constance Okello founded a local community group that brought rural women together to face the extreme weather. This article documents what began as a platform for flood-affected communities and later became a climate center training women on adopting low-cost indigenous solutions to climate change.

Opinion: How COP27 can deliver climate justice for rural women

In this opinion piece, Nicoline de Haan, Director of the CGIAR GENDER Platform, urges world leaders to strategically work to ensure the financial investment to developing countries towards climate change is directed to the nations and the rural women who need it the most.

Opinion: Africa food security solutions must prioritize women and girls

As Africa continuously faces a series of agricultural crises and droughts due to extreme weather and COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions, the ripple effects of increased food prices could disproportionately impact women and girls. In this piece, Funke Aderonmu and Phelisha Midy‘s emphasize that inaction to stem food security risks could bring a recurrence of the 2008-2009 global food price crisis.

The critical role of women in avoiding a Covid-19 “food pandemic” in sub-Saharan Africa

Gaudiose Mujawamariya, an economist and gender researcher at AfricaRice in Madagascar, shares some lessons from past research on how gender equality can help fight hunger and malnutrition.

The Role of Women in Agriculture Value Chains in Sub-Saharan Africa

This journal article by Food Security for Peace and Nutrition-Africa highlights the need to improve women’s access to farm inputs, resources, and capacity while focusing on gender roles in rural African communities to ensure sustainable solutions.

Community participation in forest and water management planning in Kenya: challenges and opportunities

This CIFOR-ICRAF report highlights the need for deliberate gender considerations in forest management plans to achieve more inclusive and participatory processes. Such processes will integrate the views of women, who are often at the frontline of the effects of the degradation of natural resources. The report highlights the interlink between forest and water resources and the need to manage them locally holistically.

These numbers prove that rural women are crucial for a better future. But they’re not getting what they need to succeed

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations notes that if women farmers had the same access to productive resources as men, 100–150 million people would be lifted out of hunger. This article asserts why rural women’s empowerment should be a key focus of climate change financing.

To tackle climate change, we need to empower rural women. Here are four ways to do that

This study by IFAD indicates that when women have an equal say in decision-making, their communities and households cope better with climate change. This leads to more inclusive, effective, and comprehensive solutions. Moreover, the study notes the crucial representation of women’s voices, knowledge, and perspectives.

Celebrating African Rural Women: Custodians of Seed, Food & Traditional Knowledge for Climate Change Resilience

This report by The Gaia Foundation spotlights the unique relationship between Africa’s women farmers and seed – in economic and food security and in developing crops’ resilience to climate change. At the heart of this relationship is a wealth of indigenous knowledge we cannot afford to lose.


African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD). Hosted by World Agroforestry Centre, United Nations Avenue, Gigiri. P.O Box 30677-00100 Nairobi, Kenya.

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