PAFO celebrates International Women’s Day with African Rural Women

Every year on March 8, the world celebrates International Women’s Day, declared by the United Nations. It is a symbol that reminds us that equality and respect for women must be permanent; that women are equal to men, and that they are an asset. But also, a driver of economic and social development, despite their limited access to resources.

For this year, 2023, the UN has chosen a relevant theme: “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality“.

On International Women’s Day, it is important to remember that African women are disproportionately marginalized digitally. According to the World Bank, “digital skills and tools are increasingly essential for accessing services such as health, education, social protection, and financial services. Furthermore, digital technologies are a key driver of employment on a continent with a growing workforce: in sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 230 million jobs will require digital skills by 2030.

Women make up 43% of the world’s agricultural workforce, over 60% in African agriculture. Women face many challenges, stemming from significant discrimination. Challenges that concern, access to land, and livestock, equal pay, access to inputs, credit and financial services, they continue to support food and nutrition security in the world and in Africa. Indeed, rural African women do most of the agricultural work and grow more than half of the world’s food. They are at every link of the agri-food value chain.
According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), they produce 80% of the food and do most of the work of producing, storing, transporting and marketing products at the local, national and international levels. They often remain the main driver of traditional value chains in local markets for fresh and processed foods such as vegetables, fruits, cereals, tubers, dairy products and fish. However, women’s access to innovation and technology remains low.

As the voice of more than 80 million African farmers, most of whom are women, PAFO places great importance on women in its advocacy and management activities. Indeed, the orientations of PAFO’s strategic plan (2021-2025) are implemented by integrating cross-cutting themes, including the promotion of innovation at all levels of the value chain: production, marketing, financing, etc.
Rural women are represented on PAFO’s Board of Directors. They lead programs, National and Regional Farmers’ Organizations.

PAFO celebrates today with women around the world, especially African women, who work on small family farms, as well as those who work in various industries, product and agricultural activities: research and development, manufacturing, sales and distribution, agricultural education, agribusiness, advocacy, and international trade. On this International Women’s Day, the President, the Board, the Secretariat, and all PAFO’s Members, acknowledge the skills, dynamism, and energy of all rural women, who have given their time to feed the world and build a better society and wish them a very happy International Women’s Day.