Today the African Union reported that women are key to both helping to produce food in African countries anchoring the rural economies as well as purchasing and preparing the food for their families. However, whilst many women play such a large role in growing the economy and supporting the lives of many they have been long excluded from the decision-making processes in their governments and communities.
The AU announced that this year’s Africa Day has been given the theme of “Empowering Our Women, Securing Our Food, Improving Our Nutrition.” However, this is not only a day in which the effort of women around Africa is noticed, rather as the AU have name it, it is “an urgent call to action.” The theme is meant to draw attention to the fact that many women continue to arm without secure land rights, remuneration, or access to machinery and technologies that could increase their harvest.
The Sustainable Development Goals, which were only recently announced, are being used to help address the issues and making “this vision a reality”. The AU hopes to implement policies and programmes that are aimed at addressing the issues at hand which will hopefully help empower women and transform their livelihoods.
Women and girl’s empowerment is a major topic of discussion not only in Africa and not only in terms of food security and nutrition. Challenging patriarchal systems and ensuring the sexual health of women was recently addressed during the International Day of the Girl Child. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that in order to achieve the SDGs it “requires ensuring their [girls] sexual health and reproductive rights. Girls everywhere should be able to lead lives free from fear and violence. If we achieve this progress for girls, we will see advances across society.”