A new joint program led by UN Women, FAO, IFAD, and WFP aims to empower rural women to work for food security, economic development, and social progress. "Accelerating Progress Toward the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women" is a five-year initiative that will be implemented beginning in Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Nepal, Niger, and Rwanda.

Women make up 43 percent of the world's agricultural labor force, as well as playing critical roles as caregivers and small business owners. Despite women's importance to agricultural development, however, many obstacles remain that impede rural women's access to markets, public services, investment opportunities, and education. IFPRI gender research has shown that closing these gaps can improve a number of development outcomes, including food security, childhood nutrition, education, and women’s well-being.

The new program will focus on four goals: improving food and nutrition security, increasing women's incomes, enhancing women's leadership and participation in rural institutions, and creating a more responsive policy environment at both national and international levels. A launch event will be held on September 27 at 1pm EDT with President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Watch a live webcast.

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