The 7th multi-stakeholder partnership meeting of the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock (GASL) took place in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa from 8-12 May 2017.
Among other subjects, participants at the meeting discussed ways of strengthening the gender balance and leveraging the roles of women in livestock sector. This will help the sector contribute to translating into reality the sustainable development goal of achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls of the United Nations’ 2030 roadmap.
The event was attended by 250 participants from 50 countries who are working in state agencies, development agencies, academia and research organizations, civil society, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector.
Gender inequality is one of the oldest and most pervasive forms of inequality that shapes society. It denies women’s voices, devalues their work and results in power imbalances between women and men from the household to the national and global levels.
Of the 600 million poor livestock keepers on earth, two thirds are women. Although women play an undeniable role in the livestock sector, they face numerous challenges and constraints that prevent them from attaining optimal livestock production. Some of these constraints are limited access to natural resources, technologies, market information, finance services, restricted engagement in the value chain and limited participation in the decision-making process at both household and community levels, to name a few.
At the meeting, livestock experts showcased innovative tools to help measure, guide and achieve sustainable livestock-based solutions. These tools were assessed under the gender lenses, among other aspects.
Experts came to quite a few recommendations to improve the position of women in sustainable livestock sector development.
First, livestock programs must take into account the gender roles that shape the small-scale livestock sector in the design, implementation and monitoring phases. The meeting also recommended conducting a value chain analysis to reinforce women’s engagement in the livestock value chain.
Second, provide capacity building for women through training in husbandry practices and marketing of livestock products, ensuring that women at grassroots levels are included in these trainings.
Third, women can be empowered by encouraging the establishment of farmers’ groups and associations. Such groups will help empower their members’ socially and economically, while connecting them to financial and extension services and markets.
These gender-responsive solutions from the workshop will be raised to policymakers and development practitioners. And, if well implemented, would help women gain more benefits from slices of the livestock pie. Closing the gender gap would generate significant gains for livestock sector in particular and for agriculture development and food security as the whole.
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