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WINFA Press Release for International Women’s Day 2017 ‘Be Bold for Change’

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The Windward Islands Farmers Association (WINFA) extends greeting to all women throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2017.

This year in support of the IWD theme for 2017, we encourage all women to be “Bold for change”, as we strive to improve the lives of women in agriculture and the broader economy.

International Women’s Day is recognition of the historic struggle to advance the need of women as important contributors to progress and development. It is a day to recognize the achievements of women across all careers and to focus on unlocking the challenges that prevent women full economic potential and participation in decent work and development.

Today we focus our attention not just globally but on nationalizing our global commitments to goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Agenda and the Beijing platform for action.

In this way, WINFA calls on our leaders to demonstrate that we must end violence against women and discrimination in the workplace and to support the end of physical and psychological consequences for entering the workplace such as harassment, discrimination, and shame, and to invest in support systems, including basic health and education.

We call on our leaders to ensure the increased representation of women at the highest level of leadership in our country and to address the democratic deficit in the governance of our countries, marked by the absence of a gender balance in national policy making and political leadership. Women will change the political discourse and bring diverse ideas, priorities, knowledge and expertise to current political paradigms.

We call on our leaders to ensure women access to innovation, education and skills to facilitate their incorporation in non-traditional careers.

Women currently comprise 43% of the world’s agricultural labor force. In SVG 80% of the agro processors are women but do not have access and control over all land and productive resources as they should. Connected with these problems is the issue of climate change, whose effects have a greater impact on rural women and make their lives difficult.

The Food and Agriculture Organization finds that if women were provided the same access as men to fertilizers, seeds and tools, national agricultural yields would rise by between 2.5 and 4 percent and there would be 100 to 150 million fewer hungry people.

We call for support for women to high skilled occupation and for attention to the challenges unique to women’s full economic participation in the agricultural sector in SVG.

The corporate world increasingly realizes the importance of gender equality policy. Getting more women involved into the workforce is the cure for many business problems and imperative to sustainable development. Women, on average, reinvest up to 90% of income into their households. Reducing gender inequality gives women more money to spend on food, housing and education – crucial components for reducing poverty and promoting sustainable development.

Delivering on the commitments of the 2030 agenda, will require much from all of us.

From our governments, we need strong institutions, good governance and high quality government service that protects the aspirations and values of our women and the willingness to innovate in the face of challenges at the political, policy and operational levels.

At the sector level, we must undertake joint efforts to create favorable conditions in agricultural areas, including addressing praedial larceny, resource access, risk insurance and markets for women.

For women, we must educate ourselves and we must fight, fight to ensure we are heard, that we are included, that we are respected.

We appeal to women everywhere to increase your capacity for monitoring the implementation of the gender commitments of the 2030 development agenda.

It is only a just and inclusive society that will foster women’s economic empowerment. More just and inclusive societies are likely to be more able and disposed to confront the challenges of climate change, resilience and the imperative of sustainable development.

We all have a role to play in making this happen, as women we encourage you to embrace these issues and to be “Bold For Change”.

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